S55: Embedding Lived Experience in the Workforce

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By October 4, 2023 No Comments

Authors: Bryan Billington, Noemi Tari-Keresztes, Armstrong Noelene, James A. Smith, Himanshu Gupta, Pippa Featherston, Clare Henderson, & Elaine Ashurst

Year: 2023

Event: 2023 The MHS conference - Adelaide

Subject: Embedding Lived Experience in the Workforce

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

Presentation 1: Improved Socialisation and Mood of Consumers of Community Mental Health through Peer Worker Engagement
Author:Bryan Billington
Aim - To connect with Consumers of the service in a non-clinical environment. Introduction - Drumming Groups are run weelky involving Adult and Older Persons community consumers and voluntary inpatients. The activity itself is relaxed and accepting and when participants can see the change of mood at the end of the activity it's very uplifting and often results in spontaneous applause.
Methods - Participants are asked to express how they feel through the drum at the start of the activity instead of using words. The session then goes through a number of structured exercises with group and individual participation including sharing feelings and emotions and comparing this to life experiences. At the end of the session, members are again asked to express how they feel through the drum.
Results and Conclusion - An Evaluation Form was introduced to provide feedback from the activity.
A summary has been compiled from 400 completed forms. The results show that 96% of participants stated that their mood did improve during the activity and 89% scored the session between 8 - 10 out of 10.
Results show that this activity helps to improve mood, social integration and confidence. The group is welcoming and accepting of peers coming together to connect and be supported.
Learning Objective
The value of non-clinical social interaction. The ability to improve mood by using drums and social interaction. The importance of Peer engagement. Explaining Peer role and feeling the acceptance of the group. References

Presentation 2: Peer education and recovery in the Northern Territory.
Authors:Noemi Tari-Keresztes, Armstrong Noelene, James A. Smith, Himanshu Gupta & Pippa Featherston
The Northern Territory Lived Experience Network and a team of researchers from Flinders University have secured multiple funding to develop, implement and evaluate peer education and recovery programs over the past few years in Darwin, Alice Springs and Katherine. A lot has been achieved to improve mental health and build an evidence base in the local community. However, there is still much to learn. This presentation will discuss consumer-led peer recovery programs for individuals ('Recovery Together'), their families, and friends ('Circles of Support’). It will also present experiences and evidence about the stepped vocational pathway to peer work, which was identified as an ideal pathway for the emerging local peer workforce and was implemented for the first time in the Northern Territory (NT).The program evaluations applied mixed-methods approaches co-designed with lived experience representatives. This increased community participation in research and made the survey tools recovery-oriented. The evaluation highlighted participants' journeys and challenges, experiences with the programs, program impact, demand for peer support, and learnings for future projects. The latter included implementing community education about peer work and stigma awareness, a more targeted recruitment approach to access vulnerable populations and adaptation of these programs in different settings across the NT.
Learning Objective
1. Peer education and recovery programs address the gap in psychosocial support activities, and the demand for this type of support is significant in the NT.
2. These peer programs were highly effective for people with unmet mental health needs in the NT.
1. Tari-Keresztes, N., Armstrong, N., Smith, J., Gupta, H., Goding, S., Endemann, S. A., & Mulholland, K. (2022). Supporting family members' and friends' individual recovery with a locally co-designed peer-led recovery program in Darwin. Flinders University, Darwin

Presentation 3:Speaking Up For Myself - Life Launchpad.
Authors:Clare Henderson & Elaine Ashurst
The Life Launchpad Project aims to build the confidence and capacity of people with mental health challenges and/or emotional distress to live equal and empowered lives.
The project is a real-life practical example of bringing humanity and human rights into mental health because it encourages participants to define their own experiences and seek supports of their choice when they need them.
The project has been delivered by the Consumers of Mental Health WA’s (CoMWHA) peer workforce from February 2020 and is funded to run until in June 2024. By 31 January 2023, over 751 people have already benefited from the program. The workshops are run by peer leaders, who themselves have been through the program, with more than 90% of participants finding the workshops helpful.
The “Speaking up for myself “ 90-minute workshop is aimed at anybody who is interested in furthering voice and is adapted from one of the ten face-to-face workshops offered by Life Launchpad. This workshop uses a rights-based and person-centred approach to support people to become more confident in advocating for their own needs emerging from their own experiences and to have their voices heard.
Activities include using small group work to share ideas and strategies, creating personalised strengths cards, and using scenarios to find ways to speak up and be heard.
Providing key information and an opportunity to practice rights-based skills in a safe environment does contribute to making rights real here in Australia.
Learning Objective
The learning objectives include:
• A deeper understanding of self-advocacy and personal rights
• Discovering what has and has not worked when speaking up
• Unpacking the role of self-awareness, our rights and our communication approach
• Developing a strengths-based strategy to implement the insights gained.
Meagher, J., Stratford, A. C., Jackson, F., Jayakody, E., & Fong, T. (2018). Peer Work in Australia. A new future for Mental Health Mind Australia & Flourish Australia.
Pickett, S. A., Diehl, S. M., Steigman, P. J., Prater, J. D., Fox, A., Shipley, P., ... & Cook, J. A. (2012). Consumer empowerment and self-advocacy outcomes in a randomized study of peer-led education. Community mental health journal, 48, 420-430.

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