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Tracey Hennessy and Tracy Wilson - The Fine Balance of Peer Work


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Presentation by Tracey Hennessy and Tracy Wilson, North Metropolitan TAFE, The Fine Balance of Peer Work. Presented at the Western Australian Mental Health Conference 2019.

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Tracey Hennessy and Tracy Wilson - The Fine Balance of Peer Work

  1. 1. The Fine Balance of Peer Work Tracey Hennessy & Tracy Wilson
  2. 2. We would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land, the Whadjuk people of the Noongar Nation, their Elders past & present. We acknowledge and pay respect to the strength, resilience and capacity of the Whadjuk People, and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.
  3. 3. • Tracey H – Coordinator - Cert IV Mental Health Peer Work (CHC43515) North Metropolitan TAFE • Tracy W – Lecturer & external Peer Work Supervisor providing support and responding to training needs in the NFP sector
  4. 4. What we will cover: • Overview of the Cert IV in MH Peer Work course (NMTafe) • Personal insights and anecdotal learnings – the awareness of finding the balance and keeping it, whilst never losing the ethos of what it is to be a peer • Examples of student outcomes and insights into future training opportunities.
  5. 5. First Cert IV delivered in 2017. • Partnership with CoMHWA, provides financial assistance (with funding provided by MHC) • Screening process – those interested encouraged to apply • Submit application including insights into personal recovery and reasons for wanting to study the course.
  6. 6. • 15 units of study – the choice of electives were informed by the PWAG (Peer Work Advisory Group) industry representatives who supported the pilot program delivered by Polytechnic West. • 2017, Over 40 applications received, 20 scholarships awarded. Over 50 applications for 2018. Over 60 applications received for this year’s course. • Importantly and crucial to the success of the course is that CoMHWA provide ongoing external supervision throughout the duration of the course
  7. 7. • Course is delivered over a 12 month academic calendar year – 2 x days a week (Tues and Wed). • 80 x hour work placement is to be completed as a requirement of the course. • Work placement is done after in-class study is completed. • Difficulty securing placements (ongoing) • Success of work placements
  8. 8. Semester 1 • Work legally and ethically E • Work with diversity C • Participate in WHS C • Apply peer practices in the mental health sector C • Facilitate self directed recovery relationships E • Apply lived experience in MH peer workC • Promote and facilitate self advocacy (50hrs) C • Work effectively in trauma informed care (40hrs) C
  9. 9. Semester 2 • Assess and promote social, emotional and physical wellbeing C • Increase Safety of Individuals at Risk of Suicide E • Provide services to people with co-existing mental health and alcohol and other drug issues E • Provide loss and grief support E • Manage personal stressors in the work environment E • Contribute to the continuous improvement of mental health services C • Provide first aid E
  10. 10. • First two cohorts - approximately half of graduates working as either a peer worker, or support worker in either MH or AOD sectors. • A number of students from all groups have gone on to do further study – one of which received the NMTafe Student Champion Award at the recent College student awards ceremony. (Currently completing a Diploma in Community Services and Counselling)
  11. 11. A trainer’s perspective: • Cert III entry level course required • Cert IV is academically demanding and – the nature of the unit content – IS emotionally challenging • The scenarios and the information explored is confronting, but it is done so in a safe and supportive environment that prepares students for real workplace scenarios and contexts = the need to find the balance
  12. 12. Let’s review recently advertised peer work jobs • ..Peer Support Worker offers individual and group hope and recovery focused support to young people aged 12-25 years who are currently engaged in the headspace Early Psychosis program and are experiencing, or at ultra-high risk (UHR) of first episode psychosis (FEP)
  13. 13. The role of a Peer Support Worker is to: …….Work as part of the peer workforce alongside family peer support workers within the Functional Recovery Program team …… Follow guidelines of safety, both personally and for current young people of the service; …….Willingness and ability to communicate an attitude of hope and optimism about the potential for recovery for young people who have experienced FEP…;
  14. 14. …..Ability to facilitate groups; …..Willingness to participate in supervision for Peer Support Workers and to practice in accordance with the principles and policies of Black Swan Health LTD; ……Ability to complete documentation and data collection as required. ……Knowledge and experience of the mental health system (public and/ or private); ……Education/training relevant to Peer Work.
  15. 15. Peer Support Worker (NSW) …..Assist in linking guests into support networks external to SPARC that will promote their connectedness and recovery beyond SPARC …..Working collaboratively with other SPARC staff to ensure best practice, in consultation with our guests. …..Ability and capacity to listen and acknowledge discussion of suicide and mental health in a compassionate, non-judgmental way.
  16. 16. …..An unwavering commitment to follow and adhere to policies, procedures and frameworks that underpin and inform the SPARC service model …..Ability to work closely and collaboratively with a multidisciplinary team
  17. 17. Personal reflections: • PND, Carer AOD and MH – family member • As a student –volunteered for a volunteer parenting service – Parent Link Home Visiting Service. On graduation – Coordinator role. • Parent Link – linked parents with parents. • Police clearance, non-accredited program and an agreement to adhere to the concept and philosophy of the program which promoted positive parenting strategies.
  18. 18. Expectations: • To support parents who were struggling with managing their babies and children’s needs. Promoting positive behavior management strategies. Reality: • Supporting parents who were struggling: PND, AOD, MH, minimal support, societal expectations, silo service overload AND supporting them to be the best parent they could be
  19. 19. • Became critically aware of the importance of meaningful training for volunteer parent visitors. • A story to share……… Without training – (role, boundaries, expectations of self and awareness of vicarious trauma and ONGOING supervision) the end result could have been very different.
  20. 20. • More recent experiences of managing peer facilitators with the BEP (eating disorders) and The Making SENSE of Motherhood Program • Work experiences confirm the importance of clear role expectations, ongoing training, support and supervision WITHOUT losing or minimalising the value of the lived experience – in fact, praising it
  21. 21. • A 12 month program that presents students with situations that they will be confronted with in the workplace – exposes them to possible triggers, in a safe and supportive environment. • A recent story…..Sally
  22. 22. • Without a supported training experience – working as a peer worker can cause further trauma. • BUT, how to keep and value the essence of what it is to be a peer: To work with, and embrace - mutuality, acceptance, inspiring hope and having purpose. To connect, to share, to walk alongside.
  23. 23. If workplaces: • Provide the interpersonal infrastructure to support their workers by providing effective and skilled supervision and de-briefing opportunities. • Ensure that management and executive truly understand the role of a peer worker and role model the inclusion of peer workers into the team
  24. 24. ……Workplace cultures will change. People’s lived experiences will be truly accepted (and rejoiced) as part of their job role, and as an equal contributor of a multi-disciplinary team … Now, some excerpts of past students and the impact that training has had on their lives and their work opportunities…..
  25. 25. Thank you - Kia