Peer support in the mental health sector is the help and support that ‘peers’ – people with a lived experience of mental health issues – are able to give one another.
A peer worker is employed on the basis that they bring their lived experience to the workplace to assist other peers in their recovery journey.
While the prevalence of peer workers in mental health services has grown slowly over the last 20 years in Australia, there have been limited evaluations of the impact of the peer workforce. Also, there are few services that are 100 per cent peer operated – run by the peer workers and peer volunteers.
This article shares key insights from a Social Return on Investment (SROI) analysis of a 100 per cent, peer operated service run by Flourish Australia (previously RichmondPRA) in Hervey Bay, Queensland.
SVA used the SROI analysis to demonstrate where the main value is created and to highlight the key features of the service that create that value.
These insights may be useful for organisations seeking to expand or replicate a peer operated service, or for those looking to gain a deeper understanding of this effective form of support.