Accessibility Tools

Lived Experience Workforce

— Older People and the Lived Experience Workforce

Williamson, T., & Duncan, G. 
Peer support and peer support workers in older people’s mental health. 
London: Centre for Mental Health
Full Text


What constitutes a ‘peer’ or ‘lived experience’ is as complex and nuanced for older people as it is for any cohort. Given that this point has been highlighted across the other thought pieces on peer support written by Centre for Mental Health (Children and Young People, LGBTQ+ and Neuro Diversity), some careful thought needs to be given on how effective sustainable peer support can be delivered to all requiring it.

Tang, J. P. S., Liu, T., Lu, S., Sing, C. Y., Sze, L. C. Y., Lum, T. Y. S., & Tse, S. 
“It was the deepest level of companionship”: Peer-to-peer experience of supporting community-dwelling older people with depression - a qualitative study. 
BMC Geriatrics
Full Text


Background: There is an ample body of literature examining the experiences and outcomes of peer support services for mental health recovery in western countries. However, formal peer support is only recently adapted and piloted to alleviate depression among older people, and little is known about how the peer-to-peer model might be lived out in the older Chinese population. This qualitative study investigated peer supporters’ (PS) perspectives of their roles and experiences of rendering formal peer support to community-dwelling older adults at risk of or living with depression in Hong Kong.

The Older Persons Peer Support Program: Case study 
The Older Persons Peer Support Program: Case study. 
Full Text


The Older Persons Peer Support Program is a leading example of collaboration evident by government health services and community managed organisations utilising their strengths to assist people in their recovery to promote a holistic and individualised support service and network. Central Coast Primary Care (CCPC) employs older peer workers in either paid or unpaid (volunteer) roles. The peer workers provide an exclusive service to consumers of the Older People’s Mental Health Service (OPMHS), Central Coast Local Health District.

Geffen, L.N., Kelly, G., Morris, J.N.. & Howard. E. P. 
Peer-to-peer support model to improve quality of life among highly vulnerable, low-income older adults in Cape Town, South Africa. 
BMC Geriatrics
Full Text


Background: Developing countries are experiencing rapid population ageing. Many do not have the resources or formal structures available to support the health and wellbeing of people as they age. In other contexts, the use of peer support programmes have shown favourable outcomes in terms of reducing loneliness, increasing physical activity and managing chronic disease. Such programmes have not been previously developed or tested in African countries.

Coates, D., Livermore, P., & Green, R. 
The unique contribution of older people with a lived experience of mental illness to the peer workforce: observations from older peer workers. 
European Journal for Person Centered Healthcare
6(1), 78. 
Membership, Subscription or Payment


Background: The development of peer work models that are integrated into health systems is at the heart of national and international reform agenda in mental health. Peer work differs from other mental health roles as it is provided by people who have a lived experience of mental illness and recovery and does not assume a medical model. Peer work in mental health services for older people is not well established and to address this gap we developed, implemented and evaluated a peer work model for older patients of a specialist mental health service.

Project Partners

Mental Health Lived Experience Engagement Network Logo

National Mental Health Consumer & Carer Forum logo

Acknowledgement of Country

The National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum and the National Primary Health Network Mental Health Lived Experience Engagement Network acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands and waters on which we work and live on across Australia. We recognise their continuing connection to land, waters, culture and community. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

Definition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Lived Experience

“A lived experience recognises the effects of ongoing negative historical impacts and or specific events on the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It encompasses the cultural, spiritual, physical, emotional and mental wellbeing of the individual, family or community.

“People with lived or living experience of suicide are those who have experienced suicidal thoughts, survived a suicide attempt, cared for someone through a suicidal crisis, been bereaved by suicide or having a loved one who has died by suicide, acknowledging that this experience is significantly different and takes into consideration Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples ways of understanding social and emotional wellbeing.” - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Lived Experience Centre

We welcome Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to this site and invite them to provide any feedback or items for inclusion.

Recognition of Lived Experience

We also recognise people with lived and living experience of mental ill-health and recovery and the experience of people who are carers, families, kin, or supporters.


Aboriginal flag
Torres Strait Islander flag
© Lived Experience Digital Library. All rights reserved.