Community and 'lived experience' peer program

The Open Arms Community and Peer Program involves ‘lived experience’ peers. Peers work collaboratively with veterans, family supports, community agencies and mental health clinicians.

Community and Peer Advisors complement our counselling and group program services. They provide a more holistic and therapeutic experience for clients.

Peers draw on their own lived experiences from the military and mental health service system when working with clients. Peers are able to provide insight and support to veterans with complex care needs. Peers can provide intensive case management. As well as referrals for difficult post-service issues such as:

  • finances
  • relationships
  • employment
  • physical health
  • mental health
  • thoughts of suicide

Community and Peer Advisors have an excellent understanding of the local support services. They work to enable the individual. By instilling confidence, helping overcome barriers and providing access to support services.

This is achieved through:

Community engagement

  • Giving presentations
  • Visiting service providers
  • Attending community meetings and forums
  • Creating engagement opportunities, e.g. wheelchair basketball and coffee shop outings

Direct client services

  • Conducting intake (outreach based), e.g. at hospitals and crisis accommodation
  • Helping with case management, e.g. linking to services
  • Providing peer support, e.g. using lived experience to connect 1:1 and build hope

Peer network

  • Organising monthly educational and networking meetings
  • Providing group programs, e.g. Peer Mentor Training
  • Engagement on Facebook educational page

Open Arms have Community and Peer Advisors in Townsville, Sydney and Canberra. More sites are to follow.

To learn more about how the Community and Peer Program could help you, or to become involved, call Open Arms on 1800 011 046.