A book called Peer work in Australia sets a new standard for recognising the importance of people living with mental health issues helping “peers” on their recovery journeys.
Launched by Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt at Parliament, the book has been applauded by mental health sector leaders.
The book was written by two community mental health support agencies, Mind Australia Limited and Flourish Australia.
It covers Australia’s pioneering role and how peer work has been embraced by mainstream mental health services locally and abroad over the past 20 years.
Peer support involves training people with their own experience of a mental health issue to support and guide others who have their own journeys.
It’s often the case that people in need of help will relate with and learn from peers who have “walked the walk” of mental health recovery.
The book features a review of work by consumer rights advocates Janet Meagher, Anthony Stratford, Erandathie Jayakody, Fay Jackson and Tim Fong from Mind Australia and Flourish Australia.
Other contributors include NDIA mental health advisor Dr Gerry Naughtin.
Professor Larry Davidson, from the Yale University School of Medicine says in the foreword: “Peer workers can decrease the use of costly acute services like emergency room visits and hospitalisations, while increasing the use of outpatient care and… reduce the use of alcohol and demoralisation, while increasing hope, empowerment, and self-care.”