The department is supporting a number of different initiatives to develop and expand the lived experience workforce, including:

Mapping of lived experience positions in mental health services

The department, with support from health services, have been undertaking a census to understand the numbers and locations of lived experience positions within Victorian mental health services. A census report will be available in February 2018. 

Consumer and family/carer workforce strategies

The department has partnered with  consumer workers, as well as family/carer workers through the Consumer and Family Carer Workforce Development groups to co-design strategies to meet consumer and family/carer workforce needs. These will be brought together in a lived experience workforce strategy for Victoria. The strategies are currently open for consultation - consultation papers can be accessed via

Consumer and Family/Carer Workforce Development team

The Consumer and Carer Workforce Development team offer support and leadership to further establish and strengthen the Victorian paid consumer and carer mental health workforce. They collaborate with mental health consumer and carer workers as well as other key stakeholders to:

  • Identify the support and development needs of the consumer and carer workforce and their organisations.
  • Develop a calendar of training and activities to address identified workforce development needs.
  • Develop resources to support the consumer and carer workforce and their organisations.
  • Support the establishment and coordination of communities of practice. 

They can:

  • Provide advice with regard to establishing and supporting a lived experience workforce
  • Connect you or your organisation to resources and networks
  • Inform you about upcoming training and events
  • Work with you to develop and tailor lived experience workforce related training

Contact details:

  • Lorna Downes, Carer Workforce Development Officer, email:
  • Vrinda Edan Consumer Workforce Development Officer, email:

The team is funded by the department and hosted at St Vincent’s Hospital on behalf of the state-wide learning and development clusters.

Consumer-perspective supervision

This project aims to create access to quality, discipline specific supervision for consumer workers is being led by the Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council  VMIAC, in partnership with the Centre for Psychiatric Nursing and the department. Using the principles of co-production, this consumer-led initiative is bringing together supervisees, supervisors, health services and thought leaders in the area of consumer perspective work to create a framework and structures to support consumer-perspective supervision. 

For further information in relation to this project email

Certificate IV in mental health peer work

This nationally-recognised qualification has been designed and developed by peer workers, and is specifically for peer workers in a variety of roles that provide individual support, mentoring, and advocacy for consumers or carers. The qualification consists of 15 units, covering a range of topics essential for work in the mental health system including: understanding and applying peer work theory; working legally and ethically; reflective practice; and use of lived-experience in peer work.

Studies are undertaken over a 14 month period, with two contact days per six weeks, practice of skills in the workplace, and completion of written assignments. The department has made available scholarships to enable all peer workers to access this training at a subsidised cost. You can find details of the course, including a full list of topics and apply for the training via the VICSERV website.