SANE’s Peer Guide Program is an exciting new initiative Funded by the Department of Social Services – Strong and Resilient Communities (SARC) and Mental Health Commission of New South Wales. The aim of this program is to support people living with complex mental health concerns to access pathways designed to support their journey towards employment and/or further education.
Peer Support Work is an important part of the mental health workforce that is based on shared experiences of living with mental health challenges. Pursuing employment in Peer Work can be transformative. People are able to leverage their experiences with mental illness – one of the very issues that may have compounded their disadvantage - into a pathway to employment, engagement and participation.
Peers are uniquely placed to offer support to each other because they are people who understand from their own lived or living experiences. You can read more about Peer Support at SANE here.
Why Peer Guide Program?
People with complex mental health issues living in areas of higher relative disadvantage face many challenges entering or re-entering the workforce and finding employment. Some of these challenges include stigma, discrimination, lack of appropriate support, education or training. (Source: SANE National Stigma Report Card)
Often there is limited opportunity for people with complex mental health needs to explore and gain practical work experience.
There are also limited pathways that allow people with a lived experience to gain work experience in peer support that would allow them to transition to employment or study in the mental health workforce.
Over the past five years, SANE’s Community Guide Program has been impactful and continues to provide opportunities for service users who seek help on SANE’s Forums to transition from people accessing mental health services to becoming trained volunteers providing support to others.
Leveraging on the space and principles the Community Guide Program has provided for SANE’s users, SANE is developing and introducing the Peer Guide Program. The program will focus on:
- Online training on key competencies for peer support work and transferrable employment skills
- Providing participants with mentoring by a dedicated peer mentor
- Practical work experience by volunteering within SANE
- Supporting education/employment readiness for program participants.
The Peer Guide Program was co-designed with people with a lived experience of complex mental health concerns.
SANE is committed to having lived experience at the heart of all our programs, bridging the gap and ending mental health inequity and social and economic exclusion. Through the Peer Guide Program, SANE champions people with complex mental health needs and creates a dedicated pathway to support service with soft entry pathways to peer support careers.
HOW TO BECOME A PEER GUIDE
To apply to be a Peer Guide, the person must meet the following criteria :
- Must be at least 18 years of age or above
- Must be residing in the Wide Bay Queensland region; Hobart Tasmania region; rural or regional New South Wales regions; or the Mornington Pensinsula Victoria
- Have experienced some form of interruption in employment or education as a result of managing complex mental health concerns
- Must be willing and able to commit to 10 weeks of online training, followed by 10 weeks of online volunteering (we know and understand that circumstances change, participation and engagement will fluctuate, and time for self-care is needed)
- Must be able to commit 2 hours per week to the program
- Feel comfortable in learning how to support others as peers
- Click here to read the full position description
If you feel you match the above criteria, please complete the Expression of Interest Form here.