Why not a peer worker?

Journal article citation:
Mental Health and Social Inclusion, 21(3), 2017, pp.176-183.

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to provide a perspective on peer work and insights from Flourish Australia’s journey in growing a thriving peer workforce. Flourish Australia is a large not-for-profit organisation that has been supporting people with their recovery journeys for over 60 years. The organisation provides, predominantly, non-clinical community-based support to enable people who live with a mental health issue and/or psychosocial disabilities to lead contributing lives in their community. Design/methodology/approach: Flourish Australia developed and implemented a number of strategic directives in order to support the growth of a peer workforce. Central to these directives were policy positions that encouraged a shared understanding of the value and contribution that people with a lived experience of a mental health issue add to an organisation. From this policy foundation, the Why Not a Peer Worker? strategy and Transformation Peer Worker strategy were implemented and embraced by hiring managers across the organisation. Findings: The “Why Not a Peer Worker?” campaign, coupled with the Transformation Peer Worker strategy, resulted in an increase in Flourish Australia’s peer workforce of almost 600 per cent over an 18-month period to now number 145 positions. Research limitations/implications: This paper provides organisations who are seeking to develop or grow their peer workforce with practical ideas that have been successfully implemented by Flourish Australia that can be discussed and debated when developing a peer workforce. Originality/value: This paper provides unique insights into Flourish Australia’s peer workforce journey. (Publisher abstract)

Subject terms:
peer support, mental health services, communities, employment, recovery;
Content type:
practice example
Journal home page
ISSN online:
ISSN print:

Key to icons

  • Free resource Free resource
  • Journal article Journal article
  • Book Book
  • Digital media Digital media
  • Journal Journal

Give us your feedback

Social Care Online continues to be developed in response to user feedback.

Contact us with your comments and for any problems using the website.

Sign up/login for more

Register/login to access resource links, advanced search and email alerts