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Mental Health Peer Work Development and Promotion

The need to develop a national professional peer workforce and encourage support structures and professional development for the peer workforce is a key priority for the Commission. Mental Health Peer Work has been an area of focus for the National Mental Health Commission since our establishment in 2012. The development and promotion of the mental health peer workforce has been recommended as part of our 2012 and 2013 National Report Cards and the 2014 Contributing Lives, Thriving Communities report.

Fifth Plan National Peer Workforce Development Guidelines 

Under the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan (Fifth Plan), the Commission is leading the development of Peer Workforce Development Guidelines by 2021.

This project will help support the peer workforce through providing formalised guidance for governments, employers and the peer workforce about support structures required to sustain and grow the workforce. Although local and regional peer workforce frameworks exist, the development of national guidelines will ensure consistency across Australia. National guidelines will also be a step towards professionalisation of the peer workforce.

To find out more about the Peer Workforce Development Guidelines Project, please read more here.

To register your interest for the project and to stay up to date, please join our interest register below.

Register your interest

Towards Professionalisation: A study into the feasibility of a national peer workforce organisation 

Under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the Department of Health tasked the National Mental Health Commission with investigating the feasibility of establishing a member based organisation for the peer workforce in Australia. The Commission funded the Private Mental Health Consumer Carer Network (PMHCCN) Australia to undertake this work.

The PMHCCN project involved:

  • Undertaking an Australian and international literature review
  • Scoping for a better understanding of the peer workforce
  • Conducting workshops in all Australian capital cities and engaging with peer workers in regional and rural Australia
  • Collaborating and communicating with other organisations engaged in supporting peer workers
  • Developing a model for a National Peer Organisation
  • Having a booth at the 2017 and 2018 TheMHS Conferences
  • Supporting the development of educational material focused on employers of peer workers

The literature review identified current best practice in relation to the peer workforce in Australia and internationally, including methods to best support the workforce.

Towards Professionalisation: Exploration of best practice models in mental health peer work to inform the establishment of a national professional organisation 

The PMHCCN’s final report explores potential governance structures and models of a national organisation. The report also explored gaps and opportunities for training of the peer workforce and data on the peer workforce.

Towards Professionalisation: A Project to undertake a feasibility study into the establishment of a member based organisation for the peer workforce in Australia

The summary report outlines the key messages and topics from the final report.

Towards Professionalisation Summary Report: A Project to undertake a feasibility study into the establishment of a member based organisation for the peer workforce in Australia

More information on the project can be accessed on the PMHCCN website.

The Commission has provided the PMHCCN’s report and summary to the Department of Health, in accordance with the MoU, and will continue to liaise with the Department around potential next steps, including in the context of the Commission’s existing work under the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan.

 Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work

In 2013 the Commission funded the development of training resources for a nationally recognised qualification for peer workers, the Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work. The project was coordinated by the Mental Health Coordinating Council on behalf of Community Mental Health Australia. The materials underwent a rigorous pilot and are now available below.

To fast track the delivery of the new qualification at a consistent, high standard, 30 Champions in Peer Work were selected to undertake a recognition programme to qualify as trainers and assessors of the qualification. All 30 Champions gained qualifications by June 2015.

In August 2015 the Community Services and Health Industry Skills Council determined a new version of the qualification; now the Cert IV in Mental Health Peer work CHC43515. This has meant changes to training and assessment requirements across a number of units of competence which comprise the qualification. The resources available on this webpage cater to the previous version of the training and have not been updated to the new requirements.

Registered Training Organisations are welcome to use and update the materials to support their delivery of the Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work.

Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work Training Resource Materials

Note: these materials were developed for course number CHC42912 which has been superseded by course number CHC43515. Organisations wishing to deliver the CHC43515 course are welcome to update the materials below to support their delivery of the course. 

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