At the 2016 Lived Experience Ideas Exchange we heard from the below exciting initiatives. Read on to find out more about each initiative, the work they are doing and their contact details.

Update: Occasionally we will also be providing initiative updates on this page. Any updates are highlighted in blue.

Professional Practice Academy

The Professional Practice Academy (PPA) is an independent professional development, certification and learning content hub. Over the past 18 months the Professional Practice Academy has been working with the community services industry to build an online ‘place to go’ community of practice.  This includes identifying the recruitment and workforce needs for the community services sector and developing industry informed workforce development tools, as we move into the new world of the NDIS.

Benefits of PPA:

  • Uses world first attributional tools to identify the right workers
  • Provides an online hub for workers and consumers
  • Develops tailored learning pathways for workers and peers
  • Allows workers and businesses to access compliance, insurance and other services fit for the sector
  • Aggregates community learning programs and enables NFPs to commercialize their offerings
  • Provides a community of practice platform to facilitate alliances across the sector and drive quality improvement

Examples of how support workers are using PPA to develop and grow through mentoring and support

  • Example 1: Lauren is looking for work in the Community Services industry. Lauren is able to use the PPA to create a profile which clearly outlines her skills, interests and areas of expertise. Lauren is then able to directly connect with organisations she wants to work for. Lauren uses the online Mental Health Support Worker Attributional Tool to shift her experience into industry recognized currency for potential employment.
  • Example 2: Tracey, a peer support worker with lived experience, like Lauren, can use the PPA to market herself, use her results on the attributional tool to shift her experience into potential employment currency, and is able to seek industry approved, internationally recognized certification.

Presented by Joanna Wilson and Luke Carey

Contact Details:


Phone: 1300 772 284 or (1300-Practicce)

Check out the website:



BEYOND IGNITION is a six-month capacity building program. The program aims to support new and existing Peer Leaders to launch or grow their Peer Initiative. BEYOND IGNITION is running from September 2016 to February 2017 focusing on Inner West Sydney. The program has four key components including: monthly interactive workshops, monthly meet ups, networking events and individual coaching. The program is open to anyone who has recently launched a Peer Initiative or has been running a Peer-Run Organisation for some time, people with new ideas for Peer Initiatives, or people who would like to get involved in someone else’s initiative.

Presented by Nat Ellis


Verge Collaborative Survey:

Verge Collaborative are currently designing a new suite of leader development opportunities for people working in mental health and community services.

They want to hear from peer and non-peer leaders within the sector, and would love to hear your feedback.

Here is the link to the survey:

Contact details:


Phone: 0402 103 503

Check out the website:


Introducing Peer Workforce into Youth Early Psychosis Program headspace

headspace Western Sydney Cluster (Mount Druitt – Blacktown, Penrith, Parramatta) has been building its youth early psychosis program for almost two years. Following Orygen’s EPPIC (Early Psychosis Prevention & Intervention Center) model, we are now implementing the peer workforce core component within the functional recovery team. The service currently has 215 young people registered and 26 within intake, all aged between 12 to 25 years old.

Early intervention theory and recovery-oriented practice states that the longer a person is faced with disruptions to their health, occupational, social and developmental trajectories, the higher the risk that they will be negatively impacted, if not debilitated. Integrating a youth and family peer workforce will increase our service’s understanding of consumer needs, improve dialogue and engagement, but more importantly, ensure experts of lived experience of psychosis will be part of the treating team – providing information on the service and guiding young people and their families through the recovery process.

Presented by Marko Turner and Gillian Abadines

Contact details:


Phone:  0408 939 081

Check out the website:


Critical Perspectives on ‘Madness’ Reading Group

Critical Perspectives on ‘Madness’ Reading Group has been in operation since May 2016. This self-funded, unaffiliated, survivor-led group meets once a month to read and discuss various texts on the topics related to mental distress and well-being.

Inspired by the thought of theory as an empowerment and healing tool, the group conveners introduce academic and literary texts that challenge the dominant bio-medical model of mental distress and highlight the political, cultural and institutional factors at play in maintaining the status quo. The participants are invited to reflect on the current mental health system and their own experiences through the prism of the new knowledge. It is hoped that new rich identities, as well as practice ideas emerge in participants as a consequence, and a supportive community is fostered.

The group also aims to reduce the gap in mental health service provision for those with intellectual interests. It is a space where people from different walks of life can meet, and where collective, democratic learning and reflection can take place through the processes of reading and discussion of texts together.

The group is attended by consumers, survivors, previous patients, people with lived experiences of mental distress, professionals, students, researchers, peer workers, carers and enthusiasts. The focus remains on learning together, learning from each other and the consumer and survivor voices are privileged.

Presented by Natalia Jerzmanowska and Sarah Roffey

Contact details:


Phone: 0411 270 264



Thrive is a consumer run and consumer centered project. It is a social group which meets twice a month for people aged 18 to 36 who are not eligible to receive funded places with support organisations, who do not require one-on-one support or those looking to transition, or already are, independent. It is a great way for people to make new friends, participate in local activities, such as rock climbing and bush walking, for people who have a lived experience of mental illness.

Presented by Erin Higgins

Contact details:


Phone: (02) 4323 7731



calmEQ is a mental health consumer-led not-for-profit organisation that is currently being established. calmEQ will focus on mental health issues in the workplace. It will provide mental health education and consultancy to workplaces to improve organisations’ awareness and culture surrounding mental health and illness, and to help minimize the risk of workplace psychological injuries. calmEQ will also provide support and advocacy to individuals, to enable individuals to speak up early when they experience issues that are relating to or affecting their mental health.

calmEQ is in its early developmental stage and would like input on ways to attract funding and to break into the market.

Presented by Julia Busquets

Contact details:


Phone:  0449 257 743


Lived Experience Project: establishing a framework for participation, influence and leadership

In 2016, the NSW Mental Health Commission established a Steering Group of people with lived experience of mental illness to lead a project. The group was given the topic of consumer participation, influence and leadership, and was asked to decide on a priority project. As much control as possible was provided to the group, with secretariat and administrative support provided by the Commission.

The Steering Group decided that a framework for participation, influence and leadership was a priority for NSW. They held consultations with approximately 150 consumers and a smaller number of carers, analysed the findings and provided recommendations. The next phase of the project is to develop the Framework.

The Commission believes it is important for Government agencies to take a lead in going beyond co-design and into consumer and carer led projects. The Steering Group and the Commission are keen to share the learning gained from this project, learn about other consumer-led initiatives, and encourage others to start their own initiatives.

Presented by Sage Green and Jenna Roberts

Contact details:

Sage Green


Phone: (02) 9859 5214


Recovery-Oriented Practice Evaluation Service (ROPES)

Many evaluation services in mental health do not include consumers. Bè, a researcher, advocate and peer educator, has been hard at work rectifying this through a new initiative he has designed which sees consumers take more of an active role. This initiative does not only provide a mechanism whereby consumers become more engaged in the research process, but — with the help of the partnerships and an academic advisory group Bè has established to guide its work — produce quality and scientifically rigorous work.

Presented by Bè Aadams

Contact details:


Phone: 0422 366 051


Peer Work in Australia 

Jae Radican will lead a ‘Philosophers Walk’ on Peer Work in Australia. This interactive walk will allow people to move between key topics, focus on the one that speaks to them and provide on the spot feedback and connect with like-minded people to discuss collaboration.

Presented by Jae Radican

Contact details:


Phone: (02) 9461 7345


%d bloggers like this: