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Mental Health Commission urges greater peer support

For immediate release
6 September 2011

Mental Health Commission urges greater emphasis on peer support

The Mental Health Commission believes peer support needs to become a vital part of the mix of future mental health services in order to keep pace with the growing demand for treatment.

Demand for mental health services is expected to double over the next decade which could exacerbate ongoing staff shortages in mental health and addiction, says Chair Commissioner Dr Lynne Lane.

The Commission has just released a publication called The Power of Peer Services in Mental Health and Addiction, which recommends greater recognition of the effectiveness of peer support services. It has been launched to coincide with TheMHS (Mental Health Service) conference in Adelaide.

“When you have someone who has recovered from mental distress or addiction trained to help, it can be a very effective way of avoiding a crisis,” says Dr Lane. “Peer services have also been proven to be high quality and cost effective.

“With resources likely to become increasingly under pressure in the future, peer services need to be better integrated into the mix of care we can offer people with mental distress or addiction.

“The evidence we’ve seen from the United States, Australia and the UK shows that such services can reduce demand on inpatient services, and improve the overall quality of services.”

The Mental Health Commission serves as an independent monitor for the Government of mental health services. It advocates for people with experience of mental distress or addiction and for their families.


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