S15: Lived Experience Telephone Support Service

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By September 3, 2019 No Comments

Authors: Sarah Hylton, Amanda Mountford, Paul Creedon

Year: 2019

Event: 2019 TheMHS Conference

Subject: Lived Experience Telephone Support Service

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers



Sarah is a counsellor with a passion for supporting individuals in their mental health journey. Sarah brings her knowledge and experience of trauma informed practice and person centered approach to her work. Sarah has a strong interest in the Lived Experience workforce.

Amanda is a soon to be Social Worker with a passion for supporting clients to lead fulfilling lives. With a career history in psychology, life coaching, counselling and case management, Amanda feels strongly about supporting recovery for clients from the peer work perspective.

Paul is a Social Worker with a strong focus on human rights, social justice, capacity building, service co-design and building strong and resilient communities. He has a long history in creating and managing human services and systems in mental health and disability, and is committed to lived experience service models.

People experiencing mental health issues are often at their most vulnerable when making the transition from inpatient psychiatric care to community-based care, with suicide rates at their highest (Meehan et al., 2006). Furthermore, studies consistently show that mental health consumers are dissatisfied with the lack of post-discharge continuity of care (Meehan et al., 2006).

The lived experience Workforce (LEW) has been identified as highly effective in bridging the gap between inpatient and community-based care. Patients has identified the support form LEW to be more respectful, less restrictive, client cantered, decreasing stigma and increasing life satisfactions and social involvement (Bologna et al., 2011 as sited in Grey & O’Hagan, 2015). To date however, lived experience engagement has been largely ‘tokenistic’ and partial; for example, involving people with LE in consultation, but not practice.

The Lived Experience Telephone Support Service (LETSS) provides a unique exemplar of the LEW in action, through service inception, design and delivery. While in its infancy, the service has already gleaned insight into the potential benefits of a LEW in reducing reliance on crisis services, improving community connections, and promoting hope and resiliency in people experiencing mental health issues, and their carers.

The presentation will highlight the potential of the LEW to improve the mental health outcomes of people transitioning from acute to community-based care, using LETSS as a case study.

Learning Objectives

Learning Objective 1: By attending this presentation the audience will gain a new perspective or have an opportunity to enhance their perspective about the LEW and the value of LEW in delivering mental health services. This presentation is also aimed to increase their awareness of the benefit of LEW in improving mental health outcomes during transition from acute care to the community. The audience will also have a broader understanding of LEW beyond consultation. We are also hoping to stimulate ideas about new service developments across Australia.

Learning Objective 2: How is this topic/issue relevant to mental health services and mental health issues?

LEW is the new frontier in mental health service delivery and has the potential to make a difference in the consumers’ lives.


Meehan, J., Kapur, N., Hunt, I., Turnbull, P., Robinson, J., Bickley, H., . . . Appleby, L. (2006). Suicide in Mental Health In-Patients and within 3 Months of Discharge. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 188(2), 129-134.

Repper, J. & Carter, T. (2011) A review of the literature on peer support in mental health services, Journal of Mental Health, 20(4), 392-411, doi: 10.3109/09638237.2011.583947

Grey F and O’Hagan M. The effectiveness of services led or run by consumers in mental health: rapid review of evidence for recovery-oriented outcomes: an Evidence Check rapid review brokered by the Sax Institute (www.saxinstitute.org.au) for the Mental Health Commission of New South Wales.

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