Men­tal health CEO vis­its Toowoomba

The Chronicle - - NEWS - Matthew New­ton Matthew.New­ton@thechron­i­cle.com.au

NA­TIONAL Men­tal Health Com­mis­sion CEO Dr Peggy Brown yes­ter­day helped launch the Moun­tains of Hope Peer Sup­port Net­work in Toowoomba.

MoHPN aims to pro­vide peer spe­cial­ists - peo­ple with lived ex­pe­ri­ence of men­tal health - to sup­port peo­ple who ex­pe­ri­ence men­tal ill­ness, their fam­i­lies, friends and car­ers and the wider com­mu­nity of the Toowoomba re­gion.

The brain­child of Toowoomba men­tal health ad­vo­cate Michael Burge OAM, and cre­ated with the help of his col­leagues, the group is striv­ing to be­come a lead­ing pro­fes­sional body of reg­is­tered peer spe­cial­ists.

“I don’t think I would be here to­day if I wasn’t able to reach out and speak with a peer worker when I needed to,” Mr Burge said.

“It is im­per­a­tive that we look af­ter this work­force they of­fer a great deal with re­gards to sui­cide preven­tion be­cause they used their lived ex­pe­ri­ence to help other peo­ple.”

The not-for-profit, com­mu­nity-man­aged or­gan­i­sa­tion will main­tain a reg­is­ter of suit­ably trained and ex­pe­ri­enced spe­cial­ists.

Mr Burge is en­cour­ag­ing those in­ter­ested to con­tact moun­tain­sofhopetoowoomba@gmail.com and fill out an ex­pres­sion of in­ter­est form to be con­sid­ered for

se­lec­tion.

Suc­cess­ful ap­pli­cants will make up a net­work of 40 peer work­ers to be­gin with.

Mr Burge said GPs and other or­gan­i­sa­tions had al­ready ex­pressed in­ter­est in hav­ing peer work­ers sup­port them in their work.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

HOPE ABOUNDS: Na­tional Men­tal Health Com­mis­sion CEO Dr Peggy Brown and Michael Burge OAM at Pic­nic Point.

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