Authors: Fay Jackson, Luke Wrightson, Simon Swinson, Scott Gourlay, Christopher Grumley, Isabella Ferrier, Charlie Wood, Peter Schmiedgen
Event: 2022 TheMHS Conference
Subject: lived experience, workforce, peer work
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: PANEL PRESENTATION: “Not only did they ask me to contribute; they expected me to!”
Fay Jackson, Luke Wrightson, Simon Swinson, Scott Gourlay
The Flourish Australia Community Advisory Council (the Council) consists of 24 people with lived experiencee who access our services across NSW, ACT, Victoria and Queensland. They lead and advise Flourish Australia on the way services need to be co-designed, operated, changed, reviewed and reported upon.
It is common for people entering the Council to have had little to no work experience, however, some have had considerable careers before being forced out of employment either by their mental health issues or discrimination. Through being involved in the Council, over a short space of time, Council members learn that they are safe in the Council and that their thoughts, experiences and ideas are valued by the Council, managers senior executives and the Board. Once people realize that their lived experience is seen as a value add rather than a deficit, their self esteem grows, as does their voice and advocacy.
Through their work on the Council, people have added skills, gained self-respect, employment and greater community engagement. One Council member stated “The Council not only asked me to contribute; they expected me to and that is rare when you have been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia”.
This paper will discuss how these experiences and expectations have led to personal growth, and confidence to consider and pursue employment opportunities.
PANEL PRESENTATION: Providing authentic Peer Supervision
Christopher Grumley, Fay Jackson
Professional Supervision ensures ongoing critical reflective practice, professional/personal development, upholding discipline specific values, and wellbeing of the supervisee. Professional Supervision is an essential part of the growth and professionalisation of every discipline including the Peer/Lived Experience Workforce.
Evidence suggests sustainable and effective Professional Supervision is facilitated by persons with authentic and appropriate experience in the field. For Professional Peer Supervision, this includes extensive experience as a Peer Worker, successfully utilising lived experience in supporting others and service reform.
Common challenges that present themselves in Professional Peer Supervision are:
- Facilitating Supervision without adequate experience as a Peer Worker
- Supervisors crossing into line management
- Inappropriate power dynamics
- Line managers not recognising it’s value
- Conflicts of interest
Without Professional Supervision by an experienced Peer Supervisor we risk erosion of peer values and colonisation of the discipline by clinical language. This introduces an increased potential in harm/deficit to programs, peer workers and the Peer Work profession.
Authentic Professional Peer Supervision brings with it hope, growth and progression of the Peer/Lived Experience workforce. High quality Professional Peer Supervision ensures the best opportunity for excellent workplace and individual outcomes, drives much needed reforms and strengthens the Lived Experience community.
PANEL PRESENTATION: Navigating Lived Experience Discipline Specific Supervision within Multidisciplinary Organisational Contexts.
Isabella Ferrier, Charlie Wood
Supervision is a key part of workforce development, staff support and service improvement across all disciplines in mental health care. Peer work also benefits from clearly delineated and protected supervision structures, however the implementation of supervision within peer work has been variable. This paper reports on the importance of including Consumer Perspective Supervision (CPS) within peer workforce structures, as well as having effective line management and spaces for co-reflection in supporting the lived experience workforce. It will cover the challenges that arise in implementing traditional supervision structures and explore the importance of leadership positions to support peer work outcomes, provide adequate service delivery and ensuring ongoing professional development. It will discuss the values and principles inherent in the CPS framework, such as: hope, curiosity, authenticity, transparency, mutuality, connection, self-determination and lived experience as expertise, and how these are represented and challenged within the organisational context.
Situating CPS within multidisciplinary clinical settings represents a unique opportunity to explore the conference theme of ‘Navigating Complexity – Embedding Integration that Makes a Difference’ through exploring systemic issues such as leadership, governance, professional development and support for the lived experience workforce. The paper will illustrate the importance of having senior peer workers in leadership roles to improve CPS as well as enhance mental health service delivery as a whole.
PANEL PRESENTATION: BEING Lived Experience Network - Supporting better access to lived experience opportunities
Helping consumers to manage complexity and supporting service navigation are key issues when it comes to improving access to mental health services, but they are also important components of service design, evaluation and policy development. Knowing which opportunities for participation are available and being able to access appropriate support and training to facilitate effective participation is vital in this regard.
The BEING Lived Experience Network has established the core processes and structures needed to support consumers who want to be part of a network of people with lived experience who can contribute to, co-facilitate and co-produce co-design groups, consultations, committees and working groups, or who would like to publicly share their story. BEING provides training as well as mentoring in the lead up to and following events through this project. The BEING lived experience network is contributing towards increasing the involvement of people with lived experience in service development, service evaluation and advocacy by removing some of the barriers to participating in advocacy and service development.