Authors: Vrinda Edan, Cat Van Remmen, Mathew Riley, Nadia Gavin, Jennifer Bite, Peter McKenzie, Katrina Clarke, Rosemary Charleston, Craig Wallace & Lara Wallis
Event: 2023 The MHS conference - Adelaide
Subject: Forging change together: supporting and growing the Lived and Living Experience workforces
Type of resource: Video
Lived and Living Experience Workers (LLEWs) work across a wide range of areas including peer work, system advocacy, consultancy, education and research. Over the past 7 years in Victoria we have seen an extraordinary growth in LLEWs across clinical, community and the NGO sector. Often these workforces have been employed with minimal strategic thinking or organisational preparation. To enable LLEWs to thrive, their roles need to be supported, valued and sustained. In 2019 four strategies were released to support each of the LLEW’s:
• Consumer mental health workforce in Victoria
• Family carer mental health workforce in Victoria
• Alcohol and other drug (AOD) peer workforce in Victoria
• Harm reduction peer workforce in Victoria
Following the release of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health Services report, which includes recommendation 57 on Workforce strategy, planning and structural reform, the department launched Victoria’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Workforce Strategy 2021-2024. This strategy sets out 10 priorities that will be designed and implemented with lived experience (LE) leadership:
Strengthen discipline foundations
Improve understanding of LLEWs in mental health and AOD services and create conditions that support best practice LE work and models of care
Increase LLEW leadership roles
Promote sustainability of LE roles and models of care that include LLEWs
Create access to quality training and development and qualifications for LLEWs
Create equitable access to discipline specific supervision for LLEWs
Support career pathways into LLEW
Create accountability by establishing and monitoring measures for change
Strengthen networks and support communities of practice
Attract people into LLE work and promote careers
During 2021-22, Victoria initiated several programs to support this strategy including a cadetship program, University scholarship program and grants to support leadership growth in the LLEW’s. In Mid 2022 following the release of the ‘Our Futures’ report, the Victorian Department of Health developed a comprehensive program of work to further support the growth and development of the LLEW’s. The work is organised into 7 streams of work:
1. Qualifications and Career pathways
4. Practice supports
5. Workplace safety and wellbeing
6. Evidence base
7. Organisational supports.
In total 67 projects across 9 organisations will deliver supports and structures to ensure the continued growth of this important section of the mental health workforce.We are are working together across 4 very different disciplines, acknowledging each other’s difference, embracing our similarities, sharing our knowledge and wisdom and learning from each other.
The only way we are going to achieve system reform, is to forge change together.
This symposium will share some of the early learning from this work, the ways we are finding to work together on complex interactions and the accompanying tensions and challenges.
Each Discipline will share the work they are undertaking:
The partnership between Centre Mental Health Nursing, VMIAC and Centre Mental Health Learning (CMHL) will see the development of a Consumer Perspective Discipline Framework, training supports, organisational supports, such as role descriptions, consumer research grants, community of practices and employee assistance program enhancement. In addition, work is being undertaken to develop supports for tertiary education study supports and career development opportunities.
Tandem in partnership with the Carer Lived experience Workforce network (CLEW), Bouverie Centre and CMHL, will be delivering programs for the Family/Carer workforces including funding for CMHL to develop and deliver training and employ a family/carer educator. These projects include the development of a discipline framework, bank of discipline-specific role descriptions and Community of Practice for Family/Carer Consultants. The partnership also has the delivery of Carer Perspective supervision training, and administration of LEW research grants and participation costs. Bouverie Centre has been funded to develop evaluation plans for LEW training initiatives, mentoring and supervision of LE scholarship holders and delivery of single session family peer work training.
The Self Help Addiction Resource Centre, (SHARC) supports over 9000 individuals and families annually and our programs and services operate locally, across Victoria, and increasingly, nationally. SHARC is a partner is this program responsible for several programs of work focussing on the Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) LEWs through the codesign and coproduction in the areas of organisational supports, practice supports, training and supervision.
Living experience workforces
Harm Reduction Victoria (HRVic) is a not for profit, community organisation for people who use drugs. With responsibility for delivering projects for the Living experience workforce in the sector. The aim of fuse Initiatives funded project is to support and strengthen the harm reduction/ living experience peer workforce in Victoria, this is a criminalised workforce so in developing key strategic & foundational documents will be necessary to embed this workforce
Additional work on organisational change management and supporting the LLEW to grow training capability is being supported by Mental Health Victoria and Mind Australia is being supported to continue delivering their Peer Support training.
Following an introduction to this work, the audience will be able to contribute to our work in some small table work answering these questions:
a) As a LLEW worker, what would your priority in the work be?
b) As a consumer or family carer, what do you see as the most important components of work being undertaken?
c) Is there anything missing?
In concluding the symposium presenters will summarise the feedback from small group tables and discuss how we can incorporate this into our ongoing work.
Attendees to this symposium will learn that the development of the LLEW requires investment in strategic thinking and working in a model of LE leadership. Attendees will have an opportunty to feed into and influence the work that is being undertaken in Victoria