About Lived Experience Workforce
What is a mental health lived experience worker?
A lived experience worker is “a person who is employed in a role that requires them to identify as being, or having been a mental health consumer or carer. Peer work requires that lived experience of mental illness is an essential criterion of job descriptions, although job titles and related tasks vary.”
The Lived Experience Workforce consists of people who are employed for their specific skill set, which includes their first-hand experience of mental health issues and recovery (as a consumer or carer) and, importantly, the ability to apply in practice the learning and knowledge gained through their experience. Lived experience workers draw from this as part of their day to day role, in a skillful and purposeful way.
Lived experience workers may be employed by Government or Non-Government Organisations (NGOs), within roles specific to their experience as a consumer or carer. Whilst a lived experience of mental health issues and recovery is the common essential criterion, other criteria, the actual position description, work-related tasks and workplace experiences can vary greatly. For example, lived experience workers may:
- Work in psychosocial rehabilitation (non-clinical) or within clinical mental health services.
- Perform a one to one support role, helping facilitate recovery in others.
- Develop and deliver training.
- Run groups and programs.
- Share their story for the purposes of community education.
- Work in project or policy development, consultancy, leadership or advocacy roles.
How do I become a lived experience worker?
Most roles require employees to have or be working towards a nationally recognised qualification. There are people in lived experience roles with a range of qualifications, from Certificate IV in Mental Health to a Degree in Social Work or Psychology and higher.
LEWP actively advocated for the lived experience-focussed Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work to be added to the subsidised training list, making it more accessible for people in lived experience roles. Click here to be taken to the course website:
Click below to download a document with ideas on exploring lived experience employment, volunteering, training and other activities: