Accessing and Embracing Peer Support During COVID-19

TrainSmart Australia offers several nationally recognised qualifications related to mental health peer support:

Common in all those courses, and in fact all our Health and Community Services Courses, is the understanding that mental well-being is heavily reliant on peer support. The people, programs, and experiences we surround ourselves with play a significant role in our mental health.

As Australia braces for a ‘second wave’ of coronavirus-related mental illness in the next 12-18 months, it has maybe never been more important to discuss those concepts covered in our mental health Diploma and Certificate courses.

Why peer support matters in mental health

Peer support is a mutual system of giving and receiving help, to combat mental illness and overcome personal crises. It can take 2 forms:

  1. Informal peer support – friends, family, colleagues
  2. Formal peer support – programs and services provided by mental health peer workers

Formal peer support is a varied and rewarding career path, which begins with a Diploma of Mental Health, or Certificate IV in Mental Health or Mental Health Peer Work. During the courses, you learn to structure and deliver programs that improve the lives of people experiencing mental illness by creating a galvanising peer network.

The results are wide-ranging and profound:

  • Lower admission rates to care facilities
  • 50% reduction in readmission
  • Reduced self-stigmatisation and more positive outlook
  • Less burden on carers
  • Higher cost efficiency for strained mental health services
  • Increased empathy for people in recovery programs

Source: My Mental Health peer workforce research review.

In focus: Mental Health Week 2020

Peer support will continue increasing in relevance as WA Mental Health Week approaches. This year’s theme of Strengthening Our Community – Live, Learn, Work, Play is based on the key tenets of mental health peer support.

Beginning on World Mental Health Day (October 10), this year’s program focuses on sharing ideas, learning from each other, promoting mental health literacy, and reducing stigma by encouraging Australian communities to look out for one another.

We hope that, by October, the worst of the coronavirus pandemic will be behind us. But there is much evidence to suggest the mental health impacts will continue to affect Australians long after the threat of the virus subsides.

To support each other through the tough times to come, Australia’s mental health sector needs many more allied health professionals graduating from courses like a Diploma of Mental Health or Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work. You can learn more about any of our courses online, or request course materials to be sent to you.

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