Welcome to the Peer Work Project website

a collaborative initiative of Baptist Care (SA) and MIFSA

The Statewide Mental Health Lived Experience Register is here!

June 11, 2013

Hi Everyone!

SA Health has been finalising the Statewide Mental Health Lived Experience Register. At last, excitingly,  it’s here!

Lived experience is the knowledge and understanding you get when you have lived through something. When we talk about people with mental health lived experience, we mean people living with mental illness (sometimes called consumers) and family or friends supporting someone living with mental illness (sometimes called carers).

The purpose of the Register is to provide a mechanism for people with lived experience to provide feedback, observations, ideas and recommendations for improving Mental Health Services in South Australia.

The Register offers:

  • A process for people with lived experience to engage with the work of the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Division
  • A process for staff to access the views, ideas and experiences of people with lived experience
  • A process for people with lived experience to tell the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Division what’s important when it comes to mental health and wellbeing.

If you’d like to become a member, that’s fantastic.  All you need to do is fill in the membership form (it’s in the information sheet which is attached to this email) and get it back to us by email or post. If you are someone who doesn’t have lived experience, but you are working with people who have lived experience and would like to keep them in the loop by forwarding on the Register information and updates, that’s great too. Just let us know by return email that you’d like to be on the Register as a ‘networker’ and we’ll make sure you stay on the mailing list.

Have a look too, at the Lived Experience webpage www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/livedexperience where you will find copies of the information sheets and guidelines for the Register – so if you have friends, family or colleagues you think might be interested please let them know!

We’d like to acknowledge all of the help that many of you with lived experience provided us in the development of the Register, in particular the members of the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Division’s Carer Advisory Group and Consumer Reference Group – thank you!

We will aim to provide updates as often as we can, hopefully fortnightly, with opportunities for you to be involved.

Thanks again for your interest. We look forward to receiving your membership form!

Wishing you wellbeing,

Statewide Mental Health Lived Experience Register

E: Health.StatewideLivedExperienceRegister@health.sa.gov.au

P: 8226 1091

F: 8226 6235

W: www.sahealth.sa.gov.au

PO BOX 287




Wanted – Mental Health Consumers, Carers and Professionals

March 5, 2013

Exciting things are happening in mental health research. The Federal Government is funding MHFA training for financial counsellors and current financial counselling students around Australia. The first step is to customise it to make it useful for financial counsellors.

We are looking for 30 mental health consumers, 30 mental health carers, 30 mental health professional, 30 financial counsellors, and 30 financial institution staff to sit on a Delphi Expert Panel. Everyone’s opinions count equally.

Time commitments
You will be asked to do about 3 online surveys over about 6 months, so no travel or meetings.

You will be either
A mental health consumer who has experienced and overcome problem debt.
A carer of a mental health consumer who has experienced problem debt.
A mental health professional who has worked with consumers who have experienced problem debt.

Is there payment?
A small honorarium: To Be Confirmed.

This will start in the next few months, to be advised.

If you are interested in participating please contact
Kathy Bond
Mental Health First Aid Australia
Email kathybond@mhfa.com.au
Phone 03 9079 0200

This Initiative is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.


Return To Work – Mental Health Support

January 29, 2012

Helping Australian employees successfully return to work following depression, anxiety or a related mental health problem.


Partners in Recovery

October 29, 2012

Partners in Recovery (PIR) aims to better support people with severe and persistent mental illness with complex needs and their carers and families, by getting multiple sectors, services and supports they may come into contact with (and could benefit from) to work in a more collaborative, coordinated, and integrated way.

Through system collaboration, PIR will promote collective ownership and encourage innovative solutions to ensure effective and timely access to the services and supports required by people with severe and persistent mental illness with complex needs to sustain optimal health and wellbeing.

The Mental Health Coalition is developing a proposal in partnerships with NGO’s like Baptist Care and MIFSA for the PIR. They would like to know more about what your experiences are with current services  – please see attached questionnaire here …. PIR – Survey Consumers & Carers

They would like to receive your responses by Friday 9th November 2012. If you have any questions please contact Paul Christie on 8212 8873 or via email to paul.christie@mhcsa.org.au

The National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum

September 17, 2012

The National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum (NMHCCF) is the combined national voice for consumers and carers participating in the development of mental health policy and sector development in Australia.
Through its membership, the NMHCCF gives mental health consumers and carers the opportunity to meet, form partnerships and be involved in the development and implementation of mental health reform.
  • To utilise lived experience and unique expertise in mental health to identify what does and does not work in the mental health sector.
  • To identify important and innovative ways to bring about positive change within the mental health system.
  • To be a powerful, respected, combined national voice for mental health consumers and carers.



The Benefits of Peer Work

A Peer Worker is someone with a lived experience of mental illness, who is living well and is able to support others experiencing mental illness in facilitating their own recovery.

“If I had met a Peer Worker in the early days of my diagnosis, ten years of my life may not have been lost”.

(Comment made by ‘Introduction to Peer Work’ Course Participant, 2006)

Peers can be effective as they can offer a different degree of empathy, having experienced mental illness themselves and they offer hope. This website aims to inform Peer Workers and their Employers about the training and support we can provide.

We are very pleased to announce that the Peer Work Project has won a silver achievement award at the TheMHS conference.

TheMHS is The Mental Health Services Conference of Australia and New Zealand. TheMHS conference is an international mental health educational forum, attracting over 1000 mental health clinicians, managers, consumers, carers, researchers, educators and policy makers, annually. TheMHS is a learning network for improving mental health services in Australasia. The conference is being held in Adelaide this year and started 21 years ago in Adelaide.

We received the award for our contribution to the development of the peer workforce and contributing to mental health reform. It is a very inspiring and energising conference and I think it is an honour to be recognised and acknowledged by the TheMHS committee for our efforts in Peer Work.



July 24, 2012

Launched in July 2012, mindhealthconnect is an innovative new site dedicated to providing access to trusted, relevant mental health care services including stress, anxiety and depression. The website is a brand new initiative launched in July 2012 as part of the Australian Government’s National E-Mental Health Strategy.

Along with trusted partners,  mindhealthconnect aims to provide information and support about programs and services concerning mental health issues.

In the future, the resource plans to expand the range of topics covered to include:

  • addictions
  • eating disorders
  • bipolar disorders
  • psychotic disorders
  • phobias
  • post-natal depression
  • schizophrenia
  • crisis management

You can check out this resource here http://www.mindhealthconnect.org.au/


PEER ZONE (New Zealand)

July 17, 2012

On May 29, 2012, the PeerZone website resource was launched in New Zealand. PeerZone offers current and/or prospective peer workers a thorough selection of online information and resources, along with opportunities to network and share individual experiences of recovery, growth and sustainable well-being.

You can go straight to the PeerZone Resources from the Links section on the right-hand side of this page, or check out the PeerZone home page  here… http://www.peerzone.co.nz/




June 22, 2012


Minister for Mental Health and Ageing

Minister for Social Inclusion

Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Mental Health Reform


Minister for Mental Health Mark Butler today announced the establishment of a Consumer Reference Group to set up the new National Mental Health Consumer Organisation.

Mr Butler said the Consumer Reference Group would help guide the establishment of the new organisation announced as part of the National Mental Health Reform package.

“I’ve appointed ten people to the Consumer Reference Group who have the necessary expertise and experience to make a profound impact on the responsiveness and accountability of the mental health system.

“Members were chosen by a selection panel made up of consumers, non-government and government representatives and bring a diverse set of skills, knowledge, sector diversity and networks,” Mr Butler said.

The Australian Government has invested $4 million over five years to establish and operate the new National Mental Health Consumer Organisation as part of its landmark $2.2 billion national mental health reform package.

The Consumer Reference Group will be chaired by Mr Ian Watts who has an extensive health care background and substantial experience in leadership and organisational roles.

Mr Watts said diverse and inclusive consultation was central to Australia’s mental health reform.

“It’s critical to listen to and support people who cannot always speak out independently to improve mental health systems, particularly the safety and quality of these services, and community awareness of the issues.”

The group will lay the foundations of the new Organisation through a range of engagement activities which may include consultations, forums and membership activities.

Once established, the new Organisation will be dedicated to representing the diverse views of mental health consumers to contribute to a more responsive and accountable mental health system.

The members the Consumer Reference Group are:

Mr Ian Watts (Chair)
Dr Michelle Banfield
Mr Michael Burge
Ms Fay Jackson
Mr Darren Jiggins
Mr Keith Mahar
Mr Lei Ning
Ms Lorraine Powell
Ms Emily Todorov
Ms Lily Wu

MEDIA CONTACT:                 Tim O’Halloran         0409 059 617


Baptist Care (SA) Client Satisfaction Project.

August 27, 2012

Baptist Care (SA) Inc serves the people of South Australia by providing a range of services to support clients and families based upon Christian ethics and values. Its commitment to excellent customer service is monitored through external accreditation, and regular surveys provided to you. This survey is optional and anonymous so anything you say or don’t say will not affect your ability to receive assistance from the Peer Work Project.

If you have been involved with the Peer Work Project within the last 12 months; if you have received emails, participated in courses or received mentoring you should receive an email by the middle of September inviting you to participate in the survey.  If you don’t receive an email and if you would still like to be involved in the survey please email cfranke@baptistcaresa.org.au or contact the BC(SA) Peer Work Project on (08) 8338 6799.


SANE Australia Survey: Parenting and mental illness – have your say…

A new SANE Australia study is investigating the challenges of being a parent of a school-age child, when you have a mental illness.

Produced in consultation with Children of Parents with a Metal Illness (COPMI), the online survey investigates parents’ concerns and seeks ideas for how services can be improved.

Results from this confidential study will be published in a special SANE Research Bulletin later this year, to lobby for improved understanding and support for families where a parent is living with a mental illness.

Visit www.sane.org to access the survey and let us know about your experience.

The SANE Helpline – 1800 18 SANE (7263) – is available if you want to discuss any issues raised by the survey.



Shout it from the rooftops!

We are good, strong and knowing,
Maybe mad, but not bad.

To sail on the crest of the wave,
Fall to the trough in the sea…

To hear the unheard words,
To think the unknown thoughts…

Yet set ourselves free!

Are you listening…
Do you hear us?

Hope … is our
Every morning star.

Geoff Arcus



The task is not to become normal.

The task is to take up your journey of recovery

and to become who you are called to be!

Patricia E. Deegan