PowerPoint S88: How peer workers can use their lived experience to reduce stigma and support the mental health workforce – from a peer worker’s perspective.

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By October 11, 2016 No Comments

Authors: Kylie Harrison

Year: 2016

Event: 2016 TheMHS Conference

Subject: Advocacy, attitudes, stigma, discrimination, lived experience, life without barriers, south australia, peer workforce, community education

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

Abstract: Peer workers are a recognised part of the Australian mental health and community services workforce. Peer support is based on the belief that people who have faced, endured and overcome adversity can offer support, encouragement, hope and perhaps mentorship to others in similar situations (Davidson et al, 2006). Current research suggests that the employment of peer workers within mental health and community services provides favourable outcomes for individuals employed as peer workers, consumers and the wider community. I have found many correlations with this research with what I know as a peer worker and would like to share my personal lived experience story.

Life Without Barriers conducted a study about ‘reducing the stigma of mental illness through community education by community peer workers’. Study results revealed that stigmatising attitudes significantly decreased amongst 738 community participants who attended one of 53 presentations that were held in February 2010 to July 2011.

The Mental Health Peer workforce study (2014) suggests that the peer workforce is growing. I believe we need to work together to build a community where people are listened to, people are respected and valued, people have independence, experience freedom and allowed to discover their own empowerment.

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