Authors: Elsie Cairns
Event: 2017 TheMHS Conference
Subject: Workforce,Wellbeing,Lived Experience, Recovery
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: As a consumer I have witnessed change; services are more inclusive, seeking and valuing our views, ideas and concerns, e.g. contributing towards the development of mental health policies and reform etc.
How can I best share my lived experience with our consumers/patients contributing towards making positive recovery an outcome?
Age is not a barrier, my wealth of lived experience enables me to communicate with various ages.
Working ten years as a Peer specialist in Adelaide’s Margaret Tobin Acute Mental Health facility, I have witnessed and participated in changes to the Peer workforce. There have been challenges to overcome, e.g. stigma, attitudes, and acceptance. I now feel and see that we are recognized, valued, respected members of our multidisciplinary team and acknowledged that we can contribute to our peer’s well-being.
It’s about making connections, listening, building rapport and trust, creating opportunities for open conversations, letting people know they are not alone.
Peer workers bring a genuine response to individuals’ mental health issues and concerns, by sharing their lifespan of lived experience, truly empathizing with others, sharing mutual understanding and emotions. We are examples of resilience and hope, we exemplify that recovery is possible.
I believe we have proven our authenticity by sharing our life span of experiences, learned emotional intelligence, and we are now an integral part of the Mental Health workforce.
Learning Objective 1: The authenticity of the Peer Worker and their valued role in Mental Health recovery. Age is not a barrier we have a lifespan of experiences to share.
Learning Objective 2: The Peer workforce bring a non-clinical perspective to Mental Health issues in partnership with professionals to aid in Mental Health well-being and recovery.