Why ‘Peer Inside’?

Peer work is a collective term for a broad range of roles where either consumer or carer lived experience is an essential requirement. In Victoria, this is often referred to as lived experience work because the phrase peer work is often used to describe peer support work, rather than the broad range of roles that comprise consumer and carer work.

  • Consumer and family carer lived experience workers, this page gives you access to tools and support to help you navigate being a ‘peer inside’ mental health services.
  • Managers, coordinators and colleagues this page helps you ‘peer inside’ and access information about consumer or family carer work.

Who are the lived experience (peer) workforces?

Diagram depicting the relationship between the lived experience workforces Diagram depicting the relationship between the lived experience workforces

Consumer and family and carer lived experience work (Downes and Edan 2017)

The consumer workforce

Consumer workers are people in paid positions that require a lived experience of mental health issues as an essential part of the selection criteria. Other skills and knowledge are required depending on the type of consumer role.

Consumer workers may provide direct support to consumers through peer support or advocacy, or indirectly through leadership, system advocacy, education, and research.

The family carer workforce

Family and carer workers are in paid positions that require lived experience of caring for family or friends who experience mental health issues. Other skills and knowledge required depending on the role.

Family carer workers support people who are in a consumers ‘family’ (including family of choice), some of whom may identify as carers. Family carer workers may provide direct support through peer support or advocacy, or indirectly through leadership, system advocacy, education, and research.

Please note, according to the National Mental Health Commission, National Lived Experience Workforce Guidelines: "Roles that combine both personal lived experience and family/carer perspectives working in a role utilising both perspectives is likely to cause confusion, issues with boundaries, and conflicts of interest. Combined roles are not recommended and should not be considered without intensive exploration and consultation with the Lived Experience workforce and agreement reached by both personal (consumer) and family/carer leaders and workforces." (p. 26)


For more information about lived experience work in Victoria see:

Consumer and family carer perspective supervision

Consumer and family carer perspective supervisors can provide supervision to other peer workers as well as to others working in mental health services. Provision of supervision from experienced lived experience workers is an urgent issue.

Consumer Perspective Supervision, A framework for supporting the consumer workforceButton to take you to an external link

Carer Perspective Supervision Framework, A framework for supporting the mental health family/carer lived experience workforceButton to take you to an external link


Networks and communities of practice

It is essential for consumer and family carer workers to be connected with others doing this type of work as a means of practice development, knowledge and resource sharing, reduce workplace isolation and to help protect against ‘peer drift’.

Mutuality an underpinning value, vital to the culture of the consumer and family carer workforces. Lived experience work has grown significantly in recent years however numbers are still low and a consumer or family carer worker may be the only consumer or family carer worker in their particular type of role in their organisation, or even in their geographic region.

As well as supporting people to establish face to face networks, we host a number of online communities of practice through Basecamp (online project management platform) for those with similar roles to connect and share information and experiences and learn together. Currently we host online communities of practice for: Peer Support Workers

Additionally, we hold networking and practice development events throughout the year as resourcing allows and as prioritised by the needs of the workforce.

To find out more, please contact us.

Information and support for new lived experience workers 

This resource has been developed to inform and support new consumer and family carer workers. It is not a comprehensive directory of every resource related to consumer or family carer lived experience work, rather it is a basis for you to build your own list of tools and resources to support your practice. 

The information provided here is for general information purposes. You will need to consider the information as it relates to your needs, and your work. 

Please note, this section is currently under construction. Please contact peerinside@cmhl.org.au for any suggested additions or changes.  

Consumer and family carer worker training





Bouverie Centre 

Single Session Family Consultation (not lived experience specific) 

Single Session Peer Work (lived experience specific) 

Centre for Mental Health Learning (CMHL)  Up-to-date information about scheduled training and training available online or on-demand   www.cmhl.org.au/learning-hub  
Certificate IV Mental Health Peer Work     
Mental Health Victoria    
MIND Becoming a mental health peer worker: a one-day workshop Mental health peer support course: a five-day training program

learning@mindaustralia.org .au

(03) 9455 7923

Our Consumer Place Training, workshops, and talks by consumers on a range of consumer perspectives and mental health topics https://www.ourconsumerplace.com.au/consumer/index
SHARC Intentional Peer Support Hub Australia Training and resources for peer support in the AOD and mental health sector


(03) 9573 1700

Voices Vic Hearing voices approach and other training for peer support workers

www.unitingprahran.org.au/ ourservices/voices-vic

(03) 9692 9500

VMIAC Emotional CPR https://www.vmiac.org.au/
  Consumer Perspective Supervision Training  


Intentional Peer Support  Training and resources for peer support  www.intentionalpeersupport.org  
PeerZone  Workshops facilitated by consumer peer workers. Individual and group peer supervision. Online recovery tool kit for one-to-one work. Fees apply  www.peerzone.info/ 

Wildflower Alliance 

(Western Mass Recovery Learning Community) 

Training on hearing voices and alternatives to suicide 



  Training on the Power, Threat, Meaning Framework   







CLEW (Carer Lived Experience Workforce) Carer lived experience worker network providing bi-monthly education, networking and supervision meetings, and an annual forum http://www.tandemcarers.org.au/carer-lived-experience-network.php 
CMHL - Online communities of practice (Basecamp) Online communities of practice for peer support workers, consumer and family carer consultants, managers and coordinators of peer workers. https://cmhl.org.au/peer-inside-our-work


Consumer worker education, networking and peer supervision days http://www.vmiac.org.au/


CAPS Network – (Consumer Advocates and Peer Support Network) Facebook group for people from different backgrounds who share a common interest in peer work  https://www.facebook.com/groups/1436481300003142/
Peer Workers Network Website and Facebook group for current or past peer workers and those in training to become peer workers




The International Association of Peer Supporters (iNAPS) The International Association of Peer Supporters (iNAPS) http://www.inaops.org/  


Lived Experience work information and resources





Centre for Mental Health Learning Mental health information and resources. Filter by lived experience workforce for resources for consumer and family carer workers, their managers, and organizations. http://www.cmhl.org.au/resource-hub
Centre of Excellence in Peer Support Peer support information and library of resources http://www.peersupportvic.org/

Our Consumer Place

Resources written from and about consumer perspectives https://www.ourconsumerplace.com.au/consumer/index


CoMWHA Resources, tools and publications on consumer perspective, advocacy and policy https://comhwa.org.au/programs/resources-and-publications/
National Mental Health Commission National mental health peer work development and promotion


NSW Mental Health Commission Peer work hub - an online resource for organisations wanting to develop and grow their peer workforce.


Lived Experience Leadership LE workforce research including access to research summaries and full text articles. Also includes role definitions, audio/ visual resources and other key work from Australian and International sources.



Intentional Peer Support Videos, articles and resources about Intentional Peer Support http://www.intentionalpeersupport.org/ 
Wildflower Alliance (Western Mass Recovery Learning Community) Resources, films and links by consumers. http://www.westernmassrlc.org/ 
British Psychological Society Resources related to the Power Threat Meaning Framework, including key documents, training materials, and further information on narrative construction and selfhelp/peer support. https://www.bps.org.uk/power-threat-meaning-framework