BEING – Mental Health Consumers has a long-standing history of supporting the growth and development of the mental health peer workforce, including hosting the annual Consumer Peer Workers Forum. This event is funded by the NSW Government to support the professional development of the public mental health peer workforce employed in full-time, part-time, and casual work with NSW Health. We work closely with a forum planning committee to be able to bring this two-day professional development event to fruition in a way that fosters connection, learning, professional development, and support for the public mental health peer workforce. A significant feature of the event is the opportunity for attendees to hear from keynote speakers, learn about the exciting projects undertaken by each Local Health District and Specialty Network throughout the past year, and take part in a series of workshops, most of which are facilitated by peer workers themselves.
This year’s event took place on 22 and 23 June, just prior to the Stay at Home restrictions being announced. All in attendance followed strict COVID safety measures throughout the event. We were extremely fortunate to have been able to proceed with the in-person event this year, and to have had a number of people attend from rural and remote Local Health Districts. The feedback we received from attendees was that it was most beneficial to be able to connect with their fellow peer workers in person.
While this particular event was funded specifically for mental health peer workers employed by NSW Health, BEING – Mental Health Consumers recognises the need for and importance of more professional development opportunities for all peer workers across the state. We are exploring opportunities to be able to host similar events for the broader peer workforce and to include the community managed and private sectors. To enable us to do this, we have established the BEING Peer Workforce Network which is now open for applications from all peer workers throughout NSW who are currently working in designated lived experience (consumer) roles across public, private and community managed sectors.
This is an exciting opportunity for BEING – Mental Health Consumers to continue to support the future of peer work and bring forward additional opportunities to support this vital workforce. For further information on the Peer Workforce Network, visit https://being.org.au/peer-workforce-network/.