S71: “Setting Standards for the Lived Experience Workforce”. One organisation’s experience of implementing Standards and Guidelines for their Lived Experience Workforce.

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By September 17, 2018 No Comments

Authors: Shandy Arlidge

Year: 2018

Event: 2018 TheMHS Conference


Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

Abstract: The support provided by Lived Experience (Peer) Workers differs from traditional support as it is mutual, reciprocal and based on equality and can enhance a person’s understanding or self-awareness of what they are experiencing while promoting hope and self-responsibility (Davidson et al, 2012) “While there are a number of state and territory based initiatives aimed at supporting and developing the mental health consumer and carer identified workforce…many of these workers have been employed without regard to the tensions inherent in their role and with little support to address these.” (National Consumer and Carer Forum, 2010) That quote was from 2010 and we are still in process to create a work environment where LE workers thrive. The Lived Experience (Peer) workforce has been developing in SA since 1998 and over time has matured to be a skilled and specialised workforce. The Certificate 4 in Mental Health Peer Work has been refined and is a valuable professional qualification for the LE workforce. Yet in many instances, the work environment has lagged behind. The Lived Experience Workforce Project (LEWP) was funded in late 2014 by the SA State Government to deliver, amongst other outcomes, a set of Standards and Guidelines for the Community Managed Mental Health sector (CMMH) to support the effective recruitment, retention, leadership and growth of their Lived Experience Workforce. These best practice Standards and Guidelines were co-produced by the LEWP Reference Group (Lived Experience Workers and Leaders of Lived Experience Workforce from the CMMH sector) and will be shared with the Government sector to support their Lived Experience Workforce. Lived Experience members of the LGBTIQ, Aboriginal and CALD communities then filtered the Standards and Guidelines to ensure they met more than the dominant culture across the CMMH sector. The Standards and Guidelines, developed as a self-assessment tool are now in pilot across several organisations. UnitingSA in Adelaide has fully embraced both the Standards and Guidelines, and the review and implementation process. Led by their Lived Experience Consumer Consultant, a project team have reviewed their organisation from the top down and developed an action plan to ensure the Standards and Guidelines are implemented within the context of their organisation. With an intended audience across the spectrum of the mental health system, this workshop structure is- (Note – times changed to reflect 1 hour session rather than 1.5 hours) • 2 minutes: Chair introduces the session and facilitators • 18 minutes: Facilitators present: o Describe the Standards and Guidelines and the process to development them. o Describe why and how UnitingSA decided to audit their organisation for the Standards and Guidelines, o Hear from Lived Experience participants in the process, and • 30 minutes: Interactive workshop (small groups/talking circles): o How are the Standards and Guidelines relevant to their organisation? o What opportunities could be created by adopting the Standards and Guidelines? o What challenges could participants foresee and how could they be overcome? • 10 minutes: Sharing key ideas from workshop (large group) and closing remarks from Chair

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