Peer2Peer provides practical assistance to people with a mental illness during their first 8 weeks after discharge from the St John of God Midland Public Hospital Mental Health Unit.
The Peer2Peer Program aims to decrease frequency of hospital visits through providing strength-based short term community support. Peer Support focuses on the personal recovery goals of the individual and is provided by workers who have a lived experience of managing their mental health needs and recovery journeys. These workers can draw on their own recovery to offer hope to individuals in similar situations whilst providing support.
In addition, MIFWA acknowledges the need for an alternative, non-clinical workforce to support individuals living with mental illness. In accordance with international and national evidence based research demonstrating the benefits of Peer Support, MIFWA understands and supports the benefits of a trained Peer Workforce that a more traditional service cannot provide.
How does it work?
Peer2Peer is offered to people who have been admitted to hospital following a mental health episode, suicide attempt or people experiencing a suicide crisis. Partnering hospital will assess and refer people to Peer2Peer. Support Coordinator and peer worker then contact the person within 24 hours and work with them to develop a safety plan. The plan includes setting goals tailored to the individual which encourages them to re-engage safely in everyday life. It also reduces barriers to accessing follow-up care and tracks appointments with health and other social support services.
Peer workers keep in touch with people regularly, either face to face, by phone and/or email. The level of support provided is based on the needs of the individual – it can vary from a one-off contact providing essential information, to multiple communications over several months.
The individual’s family and other support people are also assisted through the provision of essential recovery and suicide prevention information and resources to help them better understand the experiences of their loved one; how to provide ongoing care and support to help their recovery; and advice on how to look after their own mental wellbeing.
The focus of the peer based support will be graduated aiming to provide ‘just enough support at just the right time’, utilising a variety of methodology undertaken by peer workers. Peer Support workers will work the individual to reduce this contact prior to leaving the program, and
Length of engagement will depend on each person’s circumstances and expected to range from 4-6 weeks to 12 months.
The Hospital mental health team refers a person who agrees they could benefit from support to transition home as part of their discharge plan