Consumer work, peer support work, working in mental health and pathways to other work
Living with or having lived through mental illness gives you unique insight that can help others still experiencing it. This ‘lived experience’ is valued by mental health services and is actively used in a wide range of consumer and carer roles, including peer support. Check out the opportunities below to see what we can offer you. This rewarding work can also launch you into other employment.
Barwon Health is committed to strengthening and enhancing our consumer and carer workforce. As our mental health services continue to grow, so will the number of consumer and carer peer workers, to ensure a lived experience voice is part of all we do.
Our lived and living experience workforce includes:
Consumer and carer peer workers (including senior peer workers)
Peer workers are people with a lived experience of either mental ill-health themselves (consumer peer workers) or caring for a family member or loved one with mental ill-health (carer peer worker). They have accessed public mental health services themselves (or their loved ones have) and they use their own experience and insight gained in their recovery journey in supporting people and their carers who may be using MHDAS at Barwon Health. They provide hope and optimism for consumers and their carers based on respectful and mutual relationships. They may also contribute to the continued development of the peer workforce program and education. Barwon Health has peer workers and senior peer workers in its acute services and its community outreach services.
Consumer and carer consultants
Lived experience consultants lead consumer and family/carers participation in local services. They are members of health service committees, and maintain the Lived Experience Network which connects consumers and family/carers with service improvement.
The consultants are involved in:
- Facilitating communication between consumers, family/carers and the mental health service
- Developing, and evaluating our service
- Building communication tools
- Engaging with advocacy groups and peak bodies such as Tandem and VMIAC
- Staff selection
- A range of projects and other activities which support consumers and family/carers
Consumer and carer project officers
Lived Experience Project Officers work with consumer and carers in the community, to bring their voices to the table; for developing and improving our Mental Health, Drugs and Alcohol Services. Project Officers work with people who are part of the Lived Experience Network
. The approach is called co-design, which is about bringing equity and a more balanced listening to broad decisions within the service.
Lived experience discipline lead
The Lived Experience Discipline Lead oversees the Lived Experience workforce (peers, project officers, and consultants) providing guidance and strategic direction for its growth and development. The LEDL is a member of the MHDAS Executive team and brings a lived experience perspective to the Executive which is otherwise largely clinical in its makeup. The LEDL aims to ensure the full integration of the LE perspective and workforce into MHDAS.
Currently, there are peer workers in all of our Acute Mental Health Services and in our Community Mental Health Services.
Click the button to learn more about current lived experience opportunities with MHDAS.
There are also lived experience roles (related to mental health challenges) available at many organisations, including:
Tandem (carer focused)
Additionally, many public mental health hospitals and services in Victoria, have lived experience opportunities.