S12: Lived Experience & Workforce

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By September 29, 2023 No Comments

Authors: Emily Hielscher, Jo-Anne Otten, Catherine Brasier, Rowena Jonas, Joanne Karzons,Peter Pamouktsis, Gabby Hewson, Jacqueline Rozario, Christopher Stefano, Isabella Ferrier, Jacinta Kuklych, Sarosh Shareef, Lauren Snowden, Jessica Anson, Jan Holt, Rebecca Langman, Prunella Howell-Jay, Shelley Anderson, Heidi Farrant & Hazel Moores

Year: 2023

Event: 2023 The MHS conference - Adelaide

Subject: Lived Experience & Workforce

Type of resource: Video

Presentation 1: Initiating and maintaining a lived experience research advisory committee in a large mental health NGO.
Author: Emily Hielscher
A small grant given in 2018 by the Community Mental Health Drug and Alcohol Research Network required consumer participation in the conduct of research. The Flourish Australia Community Advisory Council was approached who responded with a shared enthusiasm. Council Members were already engaged in advising on service development, delivery and evaluation, have embraced the opportunity to help direct and focus research activities. Since that time the Community Research Advisory Committee (CRAC) has been involved in several projects and has influenced the methods, delivery and interpretation of research. The involvement of the CRAC has demonstrated that involving affected communities in research improves tit relevance, and better protects the basic human rights of the people the research is designed to assist. A process is currently underway to expand and broaden representation on the committee and strengthen the learning components of participation.

Learning Objective
1. The presentation will be aimed at helping people towards a better understanding of the dynamics of a lived experience research advisory committee.
2. This is directly relevant to any organisation undertaking research amongst people accessing mental health services, but particularly for mental health Community Managed Organisations.

Bellingham, B., Foxlewin, B., Rose, G., & River, J. (2022). Co-production Kickstarter Guide, Sydney: Community Mental Health and Drug & Alcohol Research Network. viewed 16//2/2023 https://cmhdaresearchnetwork.com.au/resource/co-production-kickstarter/
Colder Carras, M., Machin, K., Brown, M., Marttinen, T., Mazwell, C., Frampton, B., Jackman, M. & Jones, N. (2022). Strengthening Review and Publication of Participatory Mental Health Research to Promote Empowerment and Prevent Co-optation. Psychiatric Services, 74(2), 166-172. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ps.20220085

Presentation 2: Bringing Lived Experience practice to life – Learnings from implementing Lived Experience in the RCVMHS.
Authors: Jo-Anne Otten, Catherine Brasier & Rowena Jonas
Background: The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System (RCVMHS) positions people with the Lived Experience of mental distress and personal recovery, and carers, at the heart of human rights, decision-making and system transformation. The degree to which we are prepared to redistribute power and do things differently has been questioned by people with Lived Experience.
Methods: We held Lived Experience (consumer/carer) implementation reflective meetings with Lived Experience leaders to discuss the real-life challenges of implementing Lived Experience practice during reform during 2023 in a community mental health organisation. We used a semi-structured schedule, plus co-reflection to track and explore the challenges, opportunities and learnings from our journey. The findings were grouped into key learnings by the team.
Results: Initial findings suggest that the RCVMHS has bough unprecedented levels of opportunity to implement Lived Experience-oriented reform. Yet, there are challenges and barriers to implementing authentic and effective Lived Experience practice to bring about a greater level of humanity and human rights.
Conclusion: The RCVMHS challenges us to let go of the status quo, release old patterns and realise the transformative force of authentic Lived Experience system reform.

Learning Objective
Learning objectives – primary message: Lived Experience Leaders belong at the forefront of system change and as active decision-makers in the implementation of the RCVMHS
Learning objectives – mental health: This presents the learnings of Lived Experience Leaders as they implement Lived Experience-oriented system reform

Presentation 3: A journey through Monash Health Mental Health Services.
Authors: Joanne Karzons, Peter Pamouktsis & Gabby Hewson
Monash Health first employed a lone Consumer Consultant in 1997 who is still employed with the mental health program, though now in a Senior Consumer Consultant Position, they are the longest continuously employed person in a Lived Experience position still employed in Victoria today.
Since 2017, the Lived and Living Experience Workforce has grown from just 3 Consultant positions (2.5 EFT) to 54 designated Lived Experience positions made up of consumer, family/carer, Consultant and Peer Work positions.
The Lived and Living Experience Workforce is set to expand further in response to the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, by the end of 2023. Victoria was the first state in Australia to introduce the Charter of Human Rights, The Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities 2006. The Charter is a Victorian law that sets out the basic rights, freedoms and responsibilities of all people in Victoria.
The Lived and Living Experience Workforce are employed in almost 20 different programs across Monash Health. The recent inclusion of a Peer worker at The Gender Clinic is ground-breaking and ensures that human rights is at the forefront.
The Lived and Living Experience Workforce provide a resource for change: the personal and social change that provides the necessary foundation for individual recovery, and the cultural and practice change that can further move health care services towards recovery-oriented practice. The Lived and Living Experience Workforce are able to offer support to consumers and family/carers throughout their journey through Monash Health’s mental health services. The ability to offer this support when a consumer and their family/carer enter one of the Emergency Departments right through to being case managed in the community allows for consumers to be heard and be included in their treatment plan. This is extremely evident in the Emergency Departments setting with the reduction of restrictive interventions due to Peer workers being physically present.
It is also important to understand and distinguishing between the various Lived Experience workforce roles, which currently include Peer Workers who provide direct support to consumers and carers, and Consultants who provide systemic advocacy and support in program governance. This presentation focuses on the continuity of care provided by consumer Peer workers to individuals through the course of their journey through the service.
Through this presentation participants will gain an understanding of how Peer Work, with supportive structures in place, and a culture of respect can make a huge difference to the life of a consumer using the service. There will also be a PowerPoint presentation explaining the number of consumers who have been supported throughout the service in 2022/23 financial year.

Learning Objective
Having Peer Workers in all areas of mental health, ED, IPU and Community can reduce admission rates which can be a financial burden on an organisation. It allows consumers to have a better understanding of their rights regarding treatment allowing them to focus on recovery.

Presentation 4: Mental Health peer support across the life course: updates from a rapidly evolving field.
Authors: Jacqueline Rozario, Christopher Stefano, Isabella Ferrier, Jacinta Kuklych , Sarosh Shareef, Lauren Snowden, Jessica Anson & Jan Holt
Topic 1:  Youth Space
Chris – Peer work in from Senior Peer in adult IPU to Youth space Leadership as senior consumer peer Transition from youth to adult
Topic 2:  Adult and Older Adult – lived experience leadership Changes in AMAH structure Development and implementation of LLEW director roles
Topic 3: Older Adult (Who will present this?) Transition to older adult – the royal commission wanted to smooth out the transition between adult and older adult
   We invite you to join us on a journey that started two years ago, at TheMHS conference – Exploring the Changing Role of Peer Support across the Life Course, was a presentation that examined similarities and differences in peer support across different age groups within different parts of the mental health care system. Two years have passed and there has been a pandemic, a Royal Commission (in Victoria into the Mental Health system) that has ushered in a flurry of changes effecting how mental health care is organized, accessed and delivered. Our particular focus is the royal commission recommendation that peer work be imbedded within clinical services. What are the changes, the wins and the challenges, including the new Mental Health Wellbeing Act, that have been overcome? Join us looking back and moving forward towards exciting transformation within the AMAH workforce.

Learning Objective
To be able to describe and delineate the work of the lived experience workforce who provide peer support to consumers and carers across the lifespan from youth to adult and older adult.
“We are not defined by our diagnosis”: Exploring the Changing Role of Mental Health Peer Support across the Life Course - this is the journal article written from TheMHS conference 21 in process of being published.

Presentation 5: Peer Cadetship, a new model for growing the peer workforce in public mental health services.
Authors: Rebecca Langman, Prunella Howell-Jay, Shelley Anderson, Heidi Farrant & Hazel Moores
The Peer Cadetship program at Alfred Mental and Addiction Health began in 2022 with its first cohort of students who had completed the Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work. The program is an experiential, reflective and practical placement for emerging peer workers in clinical mental health settings. The first Peer Cadetship cohort resulted in the recruitment of two Peer Workers in ongoing positions within Alfred Mental and Addiction Health.
The program runs for 14 weeks and is led by the Peer Cadet Coordinator. Peer Cadets are recruited as paid employees of the service and rotate through areas such as acute inpatient units, community mental health, Quality Improvement & Safety, workforce education and specialist services. This develops a sound understanding of the operations in public mental health services from peer work on the ground to lived experience influence in organizational development.
Aims of the session:
1. Hear learnings, reflections and challenges from the two years of the Peer Cadetship program from peer managers, coordinators and the former Cadets themselves
2. Build clinician and peer knowledge of the implementation of a Peer Cadetship program in public clinical mental health services
3. Explore the Peer Cadetship program as a new approach for growing the peer workforce and ensuring its longevity
4. How programs like the Peer Cadetship work towards mental health reform that eliminates restrictive practices, encourages trauma informed care and strengths based practice
This session is ideal for clinical and non-clinical staff working in public mental health services who are looking to invest, grow and strengthen their peer workforce through traineeship and cadetship programs with a strong focus on safety, self-reflection and personal recovery
Learning Objective
1. Clinical staff and lived experience workers will develop an understanding of how to implement a Peer Cadetship program in public clinical mental health services
2. The Peer Cadetship supports the recruitment, retention and growth of the consumer peer workforce in clinical public mental health services

Hegedüs, A., Burr, C., Pfluger, V., Sieg, D., Nienaber, A. and Schulz, M. (2021). Peer support worker training: Results of the evaluation of the Experienced Involvement training programme in Switzerland and Germany. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 30, 451-460.
Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council (VMIAC) and Centre for Psychiatric Nursing (2018). Consumer perspective supervision: A framework for supporting the consumer workforce. Author: Melbourne.
Note: AMAH is currently funded by the Victorian Department of Health to evaluate the Peer Cadetship program and consider its potential to be replicated throughout Victoria, this research can be shared in time for the conference

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