Authors: Hannah Downing, Tyneal Hodges
Event: 2017 TheMHS Conference
Subject: Community, Culture, Society,Workforce,Lived Experience, Recovery
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: Many services have yet to embed a culture that allows peer workers to thrive. So, how do employers know when they are fully prepared engage and support a peer workforce?
This presentation will ask attendees to think about what their workplace needs to allow a peer workforce to flourish and how we can better support peer practice within our communities, culture and society.
In 2016, Centacare FNQ embarked on a consultation process to create a regional framework of support for peer workers. During this process, we identified a systems gap of workplace culture and practice that stifles peer workers. This presentation will explore the concepts of reasonable adjustment, workplace readiness and the foundations of peer work and how to support it.
The presenters’ aim for attendees to leave with knowledge on how to create or sustain a peer workforce and an understanding of the importance of workplace culture and appropriate supports.
Learning Objective 1: In this workshop, we will ask “How will we know when we’re done?” This question will be dissected into various focus areas such as: ‘we have a strong Peer Workforce when…’, ‘we have lived experience career pathways when…’, ‘we have well defined supervision and support mechanisms when…’, and many more. Attendees will leave with a deeper understanding of where the Peer Workforce is headed. Individuals will gain ideas about the role they can play within their communities to support the Peer Workforce as a whole.
Learning Objective 2: From the research and consultations done in creating the Far North Queensland Peer Workforce Framework, we discovered a trend of uncertainty around how to go about hiring/supporting a peer worker within an existing team. Many services have made good efforts to support workers with lived experience, but many have struggled. One of the risks of creating a Peer Workforce is that it can become tokenistic in nature. To make a strong workforce, employers may need to look at their workplace culture, the values of existing staff and policies. This workshop will explore the barriers to fully embracing Peer Work and promote discussion about the challenges and rewards of working in a peer way.
Contributing Lives, Thriving Communities Review of Mental Health Programmes and Services, National Mental Health Commission 2014
Employers Guide to Implementing a Peer Workforce, New South Walkes Mental Health Commission 2016
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