Lived experience allyship in mental health services: Recommendations for improved uptake of allyship roles in support of peer workforces

Inclusion of service users in the design and delivery of mental health services is clearly articulated throughout Australian mental health action plans and stated as an expectation within contemporary mental health policy. International and local Australian research demonstrates benefits for the inclusion of lived experience workers in service users’ recovery journey; however, persistent challenges and barriers limit their effective integration into transdisciplinary mental health service teams.

Non-lived experience workers who actively advocate and champion the inclusion of lived experience or peer workers, known as allies, are acknowledged and recognised as enablers for effective integration of peer workers to service teams. In this discursive paper, authors present recommendations for further development of allyship roles within leadership positions of mental health organisations in Australia.

Leaders are in a position to influence the allocation of resources, redress power inequalities and facilitate opportunities for the inclusion of lived experience expertise across all levels of mental health organisations. This paper makes recommendations for areas of learning and unlearning ingrained bias and assumptions which may be detrimental to integration of lived experience workforces and hinder movement toward greater adoption of recovery-orientated service delivery

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