S63: Youth Peer Support: Service change in an Australian youth mental health service.

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By September 26, 2017 No Comments

Authors: Katie Wilson, Ashleigh Thornton, Jake Ciminelli

Year: 2017

Event: 2017 TheMHS Conference

Subject: Lived Experience, Recovery,Lifespan – Children, Youth, Adults, Older People,Service Systems, Delivery, Implementation

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

Abstract: The inclusion of lived experience is becoming a feature of service design and delivery of mental health services both in Australia and internationally. Aligned with this strategy, South East Melbourne headspace Youth Early Psychosis Program (hYEPP) has embedded Youth Peer Support Workers in all YEPP clinical programs to better support self-directed recovery, peer learning and enhanced wellbeing.

This has been achieved through establishing a framework for support and integration of peers across the whole of program. In addition there has been a focus on overcoming barriers through preparation of staff and peer workers to pave the way for service transformation and effective cultural change. Our journey towards developing a robust peer support model has evolved through proactive promotion and a ‘lead by example’ approach by both peer support workers and the leadership team.

This paper reports on the findings of a research and evaluation project on the implementation of peer work. The research has been designed to strengthen the evidence base for future development and routine inclusion of peer support services across mental health settings, especially youth focused settings.

Learning Objectives
Learning Objective 1: Audience members in this session will learn about the practical realities of implementing youth peer support within a clinical setting. We present evaluation data to support our discussion of service change strategies.

Learning Objective 2: Audience members for this presentation will gain a sense of the challenges and enablers to establish and build a youth peer support program.

Mead, S., Hilton, D., Curtis, L. (2001). ‘Peer support: A theoretical perspective.’ Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, Vol 25(2): 134 -141.
State Government of Victoria, 2015, Victoria’s 10-year Mental Health Plan, Department of Health and Human Services, Victoria.

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