S21: Expanding post-discharge peer support worker program at NorthWestern Mental Health.

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By September 21, 2017 No Comments

Authors: Michelle Swann, Anne Hastie, Suzanne Turner

Year: 2017

Event: 2017 TheMHS Conference

Subject: Lived Experience, Recovery, Workforce, Service Systems, Delivery, Implementation

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

Abstract: NorthWestern Mental Health (NWMH) is one of the largest publicly funded mental health services in Australia and provides comprehensive hospital-based, community and specialist services to youth, adults and aged people across northern and western Melbourne.

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has provided program funding across Victoria, including NWMH, until June 2018 for the expansion of post discharge support by peer workers. NWMH have employed consumer and carer peer support workers across their adult mental health services and Orygen Youth Health. The purpose of these roles is to provide peer support to someone who has been admitted to the acute mental health inpatient unit who are at risk of readmission after discharge, and/or their carers.

The objectives of the program are to:
• achieve safe, co-ordinated and streamlined transition for consumers from an acute mental health inpatient setting to the community to either establish or re-establish their connections with family and community;
• build understanding of the effectiveness of the role of the peer workforce in clinical mental health services;
• support carers to maximise recovery and resilience; and
• contribute to minimising the risk of re-admission to an inpatient unit within 28 days.

Learning Objectives
Learning Objective 1: The audience will gain an understanding of how the Expanded Post-Discharge Peer Support Worker Program has been implemented across four adult area mental health services and a youth mental health service at NWMH. Insight will be gained into the impacts of effectively doubling the lived experience workforce in one initiative and embedding peer workers into clinical teams. The audience will learn how effective the initiative has been in meeting the objectives of the program in its infancy.

Learning Objective 2: This initiative is the most significant change for the development of the lived experience workforce in the clinical mental health sector in Victoria for 20 years. The learnings from this project will substantially impact the future development of the lived experience workforce within clinical mental health services.

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
Sledge, W.H., Lawless, M., Sells, D., Wieland, M., O'Connell, M.J. & Davidson, L. (2011). Effectiveness of Peer Support in Reducing Readmissions of Persons with Multiple Psychiatric Hospitalisations. Psychiatric Services. 62(5), 541-544

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