Session Resources S101: “Findings from fifteen years of delivering carer peer support in a clinical mental health service”

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By September 15, 2015 No Comments

Authors: Cate Bourke, David Neef, Ian Brooks, Marina Hill, Sharon O'Boyle

Year: 2015

Event: 2015 TheMHS Conference

Subject: Carer/Family Peer Support

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

Abstract: The Australian Unity Wellbeing Index (2007) indicates the group of Australians with the lowest subjective wellbeing are carers, while research by SANE (2007) indicates that a majority of Australian mental health family carers (56%) have experienced a deterioration in their physical and mental health as a result of their caring role. Services that address the impact of caring on the everyday activities and health of carers therefore have a valuable role to play. One such service, Carers Offering Peers Early Support (COPES) was developed in a Victorian adult mental health service in 1999. In 2001 COPES was awarded the TheMHS Gold Award for innovation. Now, fifteen years later, operating on a partnership model, between Eastern Health and Eastern Access Community Health (EACH)and MIND, COPES continues to provide a carer peer support service in a clinical setting , reaching over 500 carers per year.

This paper summaries almost 15 years of providing a mental health carer peer support service. We will cover the building and maintaining of collaborative relationships as well as the strategies, structures and evaluation processes that have contributed to the program's success. In also covering the challenges we have encountered we hope to identify pitfalls to avoid.

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