Peer work is consistent with a number of standards which include carer and consumer participation; and demonstrations of partnering with consumers.
It is also widely recognised that the delivery of mental health services should be oriented towards supporting a person’s unique and personal journey towards a fulfilling, hopeful and contributing life. This includes achieving his or her own aspirations, despite the difficulties or limitations that can result from the experience of mental illness.
Three main practices are at the heart of achieving these outcomes and they are:
- Recovery oriented practice
- Person centred
- Trauma informed care
The value of a peer workforce is evidence based
There is an extensive body of research exploring the benefits of peer support and peer work that resonates across the entire system. Reviews of various types and criteria for inclusion, have been undertaken to capture this evidence. The Health Workforce Australia literature scan found that peer workers complemented traditional teams delivering mental health services in a variety of ways:
- Peer workers help deliver effective outcomes for service users
- Peer workers help drive positive culture change
- Peer workers help deliver better outcomes for families and carers
- Peer workers are key to recovery-oriented services
- Peer workers help reduce hospitalisations