Social connection is a key component of recovery from mental health conditions and peers with a lived experience can assist with this connection. Individuals experiencing mental illness who are well supported, can have a greater sense of control in their illness management and are able to envisage a path to wellness and more likely to recover.
DefenceCare in partnership with St John of God Richmond Hospital, are pleased to be involved in the delivery of one of two, Veteran Peer to Peer Support Programs being piloted nationally in 2016.
What is the Veteran Peer to Peer Support Pilot Program?
The Veteran Peer to Peer Support Pilot Program will support recovery of ex-service Australian Defence Force (ADF) members (referred to as Peers) with a mental health condition through skilled Peer Mentors.
The program will match ex-serving ADF members as mentors and peers in a 3 month (minimum) 1 on 1 peer mentoring relationship. A peer mentor is someone who has successfully progressed along the path of recovery and rehabilitation to be able to act as a model of support in the recovery and wellbeing of a fellow ex-service ADF member (peer) with similar lived experiences. A peer mentor’s role is to provide assistance to their peer, based on the belief that individuals who have shared lived experiences of life issues, can better relate to other individuals trying to deal with similar issues.
The Veteran Peer to Peer Support Pilot Program is designed to create a ‘helping relationship’ in the form of communication and visits between a Peer and a Peer Mentor who have some similarities in experiences of military service and mental health challenges.
The Program includes a FREE three day training course for Peer Mentors, followed by a minimum of five to six face to face visits with the Peers over a three month period. Peer Mentors will be fully supported throughout the program.
Involvement as a Peer Mentor or as a Peer is voluntary.
Who is eligible to be a Peer Mentor?
Ex-serving members may volunteer as a Peer Mentor.
The volunteer Peer Mentors will have experienced a mental health condition and would have recovered sufficiently to provide insight and support for Peers who are on their own recovery journey.
Confirmation of selection as a Peer Mentor will occur after completion of, and appropriate participation in, the three day training course.
How will Peers be matched with Peer Mentors?
The matching process is a key ingredient of a successful Peer to Peer Support Pilot Program. Peers and Peer Mentors will be matched by common characteristics and similar ‘lived experience’. Matches will also be made but not limited to ‘like for like ‘criteria’ i.e. age group, military background, interests, hobbies. Matching is also about developing mutual trust and respect between the Peer Mentor and Peer requiring support.
If you are interested in taking part as a Peer or a Peer Mentor please contact DefenceCare on 02 8088 0388 for further information.