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Final report: Identifying barriers to change: The lived experience worker as a valued member of the mental health team
reportposted on 04.04.2018, 00:00 by Louise ByrneLouise Byrne, Helena RoennfeldtHelena Roennfeldt, Peri O'SheaPeri O'Shea
The lived experience workforce in Australia includes peer support workers; consumer consultants; consumer companions; experts by experience and various lived experience roles in education, training, policy design and systemic advocacy. This emergent and increasingly impactful section of the mental health workforce is growing rapidly, however expansion of the roles is ad hoc with little structured workforce development to date. Previous research also indicates the way lived experience workers are collaborated with, integrated or utilised is highly variable. A Grounded Theory study funded by the Queensland Mental Health Commission explored executive/senior management perspectives on the barriers and enablers facing the lived experience workforce, with a particular emphasis on why organisations were embracing lived experience workers to greater or lesser degrees. In-depth interviews and focus groups were held with 29 participants in total; 16 participants employed within the not-for-profit sector, 13 employed in state government run organisations.The findings of the study overwhelming indicate executive/senior management commitment and action is critical to the success of lived experience roles. Greater or lesser understanding of lived experience work and perceived value by executive/senior management proportionately impacted the degree of commitment and action demonstrated by management. Subsequently, the degree of management commitment influenced organisational factors and ultimately, the evolution and future growth of lived experience both within organisations and outside the mental health sector.