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What Does A Peer Support Worker Do?
Peer Support Workers in Mental Health draw upon their personal experience of mental illness, suicidal crisis, drug, alcohol, and sexual/physical abuse and the steps to recovery to provide authentic engagement and support for people accessing mental health care.
Peer workers are people who have been through the worst life can throw at them, hit rock bottom, and then clawed their way back to good mental health with the help of other people like them and the professionals in the clinical system who assess, diagnose, and treat all of the mental health conditions.
Peer workers know how hard it is to seek help, get clean, and admit to having a mental condition that they feel ashamed to admit to. They give hope, support, and a shoulder to cry on to newcomers to the mental health system. Think of them like they are second-chance fairy godparents! FirstAidPro offers an MHFA approved two-day Mental Health First Aid Course for anyone interested in learning how to be a Mental Health First Aider.
Peer workers provide support to individual consumers and carers to help them navigate the mental health system and other services they may require.
Peer support job description can include:
- Clear verbal communication skills
- Written communication skills
- Body language reading ability
- Active listening skills
- Overcoming possible barriers to communication
- Basic counselling
- Provide accurate information and sources for seeking help.
Typically, peer workers undertake TAFE or Registered Training Organisation courses that are nationally recognised and fully accredited, providing a certificate IV or some form of certification upon completion. This is often the first step towards entering the workplace as a Peer Support Worker or a Mental Health Support worker until they are ready to undertake gaining a bachelor’s degree to move up the ladder into a clinically qualified level of Mental Health.
Peer Support Workers can be employed in a variety of fields from drug and alcohol abuse, to gambling addictions, domestic abuse, and trauma inducing events that trigger PTSD. They are employed in schools for students to talk to and big businesses are adding them to their HR departments in an increasing number. Below are a few job titles currently being advertised for in Australia.
- Peer Worker
- Peer Support Worker
- Advance Health Worker
- Senior Peer Support Worker
- Senior Peer Worker
- Health Worker – Advanced
- Disability Support Worker
- Detention Youth Worker
Any job board on the internet will advertise job vacancies and openings in the Mental Health Sector. The top three have daily vacancies across Australia.
Courses Available In Mental Health Sector
As with any job there is always an advantage to be had in taking an accredited course that adds value to your resume and can be certified by your employer. Each state will have its own TAFE courses in mental health and course timetables to peruse.
To give you an idea of what courses are available in the mental health field check out the hyperlinks below:
Peer Support Worker Salary
The hourly rate for this role ranges from $28.41 to $31.00 per hour. The yearly salary will depend on the number of hours worked and the basis of that work format being casual, part-time, or full-time.
Other factors like your years of experience and the employer will also play a part in the wage you receive.
Also read our blog on the importance of the world mental health day.