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 therefore consists of people who are employed for their specific skill set, which includes their experience and knowledge of mental health issues and recovery. Lived experience workers draw from this purposefully – for example, to support recovery in other people.

Lived experience workers may be employed by Government or Non-Government Organisations (NGOs), within roles specific to 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.