Across Australia the mental health peer workforce is becoming increasingly established and new employment opportunities are emerging across the public, non-government, not for profit and private sectors, and in peer-run organisations.
Increasingly peer workers provide private consultancy services including training and education for mental health professionals, organisational support to establish peer worker roles and to build a peer workforce. There are growing openings for the employment of peer workers as academics, educators and researchers within universities, TAFE and RTOs, as well as in recovery colleges within the non – government, community mental health and public mental health sectors.
The peer workforce and peer-run initiatives in Australia currently sit within a range of organisational structures including:
- informal grassroots networks run by volunteers with lived experience of mental illness, either personally or among their family and friends
- funded independent peer-run organisations, staffed and governed by people with lived experience
- independent peer-run consultancy businesses
Partnerships and overlap between these different organisational structures are common.
Additionally, policy and planning documents of state and territory governments have given an increasing priority to peer participation and employment in mental health services.