S15: “You get what I’m going through” Research Findings: Expanding Post Discharge Support Initiative

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By September 3, 2019 No Comments

Authors: Emma Cadogan, Emily Castagnini

Year: 2019

Event: 2019 TheMHS Conference

Subject: “You get what I’m going through” Research Findings: Expanding Post Discharge Support Initiative

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers



Emily Castagnini, Co-Design Officer (NorthWestern Mental Health) & Research Assistant (The University of Melbourne/Orygen Youth Health). Emily began working for NorthWestern Mental Health in a Consumer Peer Support Worker role whilst completing her Master of Public Health, focusing on evaluation and human rights in mental health. This led to Consumer Researcher roles for La Trobe University and DHHS. In alignment with her passion originally ignited by her lived experience, she is now working on projects in both mental health service improvement and youth mental health research.

Emma Cadogan, Senior Policy Advisor, Department of Health and Human Services Victoria

Emma has had the privilege of holding the lived experience workforce portfolio at the department for three years. Together with workforce partners, Emma has been exploring collaborative ways of working including co-production and co-design to identify, develop and create access to learning and development and practice supports for lived experience workers. Emma has a background in learning and development, experience of working in Mental Health Community Support Services and is recent social work graduate.

The Expanding Post Discharge Support Initiative (the Initiative) commenced in Victoria in 2016, and is a new approach to providing post-discharge support for consumers in Victorian mental health services. The initiative sees additional support for consumers provided by a new peer workforce following discharge from a specialist mental health service. Peer support workers are employed under the Initiative because they have a lived experience of being a consumer of a mental health service, or carer of someone experiencing mental health issues and they draw on their lived experience to provide support.

The intent of the Initiative is promote recovery and resilience, assist with consumers with their transition to the community, and reduce the risk of re-admission. It is a first of kind program that sees peer support workers in all adult clinical services across Victoria.

In 2018, the Centre for Evaluation and Research at the Department of Health and Human Services (the department) was asked by the Mental Health, and the Health and Human Services Workforce branches to undertake research to answer some key questions about the Initiative. The research explored the main benefits, challenges and enablers of the introduction of a lived experience workforce into a clinical setting. The questions were explored using interviews and focus groups with peer support workers, managers and coordinators and clinicians in three Victorian mental health services implementing the Initiative. This presentation will detail findings from that research.

Learning Objectives

Learning Objective 1: People attending the session will be able to:
* Learn the challenges, enablers related to implementing peer support in clinical services
* Describe some of the outcomes for peer support workers and services involved in the initiative

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