Book of Proceedings Recommended Reading: Carer Lived Experience Development and Implementation of Carer Peer Support Model into Adult Clinical Mental Health Service: The Model, Challenges, Benefits and Learnings

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Authors: Annette Mercuri, Anna Epifanio

Year: 2019

Event: 2019 TheMHS Conference

Subject: book of proceedings

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

ISBN: 9780994570260

Abstract: Paper from the 2019 TheMHS Conference by Annette Mercuri and Anna Epifanio. Published as part of the 2019 Book of Proceedings.


As a Carer Consultant in MH for over 11 years, Annette Mercuri has worked to effect systemic change that ensures a partnership approach between consumers, family/carers and clinicians wherever possible and that supporting family/carers in their caring role becomes core practice within mental health services. As a Carer peer support worker /Carer peer support co ordinator, Anna Epifanio utilises her lived experience as a mental health carer to support other carers and advocate for a greater awareness of the vital role of mental health carers. Ensuring the carer perspective is incorporated at all levels including planning, development, evaluation is her vision.

The impact of mental illness is enormous for the person with the mental illness, as well as for their carer/family/support people, as it has significant repercussions on all aspects of life. Carers often experience isolation, a lack of knowledge and are often not included or neglected within the clinical setting Connection to a Carer Peer Support Worker (CPSW) can empower/support carers as well as promote collaboration with clinicians and consumers which can lead to better outcomes for all.

Uniquely, this CPSW program was developed and implemented by Carer Lived Experience (LE), workers within a clinical setting.

Provided is an overview of the model, and the key elements necessary to develop and implement a successful CPSW program within a clinical mental health setting. Outlined are the principles and the frameworks underpinning the program, the training, skills and attributes required by the CPSW, and staff, as well as the support and supervision required. The underpinning collaborative leadership approach employed by Carer LE discipline seniors with clinical and consumer leads to sustainable systemic processes. The intricacies and challenges in developing the role within the clinical context are identified and the predominant themes/issues/barriers experienced by carers within the service contribute to clinical service development.

Learning Objectives
Learning Objective 1: Audience will gain an understanding of carer peer support in a clinical setting and the boundaries that guide the work as well as gaining an insight into the benefits, challenges, supports and processes required to implement a successful carer peer support program in a clinical setting as opposed to a community setting.
Learning Objective 2: Topic is relevant with the DHHS funding of post-discharge carer peer support recently and the difficulties and variations that have resulted without guidelines on implementation. The model of carer peer support is successful and upholds both consumers and carers rights as well as assists in obtaining better outcomes for consumers.

Young, J., Weir, S., & Rycroft, P. (2012).Implementing Single Session therapy. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, 33(1), 84-97.
Worthington, A., Rooney, P., & Hannan, R. (2013). Triangle of Care-Carers Included: A guide to best-practice in MH care. 2nd Ed. London:Carers Trust

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