Peer sup­port for veter­ans

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - RACHEL RILEY

THE Fed­eral Govern­ment is look­ing to re­cruit a for­mer Aus­tralian Defence Force mem­ber with “lived ex­pe­ri­ence of men­tal ill­ness” for a new Townsville- based veteran sup­port role.

The De­part­ment of Veter­ans’ Af­fairs is ad­ver­tis­ing for a newly cre­ated com­mu­nity and peer ad­viser po­si­tion.

The suc­cess­ful ap­pli­cant will work as part of the Veter­ans and Veter­ans Fam­i­lies Coun­selling Ser­vice Care Co­or­di­na­tion team, with the role de­vel­oped in con­sul­ta­tion with Na­tional Men­tal Health Com­mis­sioner Jackie Crowe.

“The po­si­tion en­tails us­ing one’s lived ex­pe­ri­ence to re­spect­fully sup­port and ed­u­cate con­sumers and stake­hold­ers about re­cov­ery ori­ented prac- tices and com­mu­nity sup­port ser­vices,” the job alert reads.

“The po­si­tion en­tails work­ing col­lab­o­ra­tively with key in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal stake­hold­ers so as to en­hance VVCS’s abil­ity to iden­tify and re­spond to the needs of vul­ner­a­ble and at risk veter­ans, cur­rent and for­mer defence force mem­bers and/ or their fam­i­lies.”

The suc­cess­ful can­di­date must also ob­tain a Work­ing with Chil­dren Check and have a cur­rent driver’s li­cence.

VVCS na­tional man­ager Dr Stephanie Hod­son said the role was cre­ated to en­hance the clin­i­cal ser­vice sup­port pro­vided to clients in Townsville and North Queens­land.

“The in­te­gra­tion of a peer worker with lived ex­pe­ri­ence of men­tal ill­ness in VVCS is in­tended to re­duce the stigma as- so­ci­ated with ac­cess­ing men­tal health ser­vices and to as­sist in the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of at- risk in­di­vid­u­als and their fam­i­lies,” she said.

Dr Hod­son said VVCS an­tic­i­pated that learn­ings from the com­mu­nity co­or­di­na­tion team may al­low it to adapt its clin­i­cal ser­vice de­liv­ery to pro­vide more tar­geted sup­port to clients into the fu­ture.

“Peer to peer sup­port is an im­por­tant el­e­ment of re­cov­ery and when com­bined with direct clin­i­cal ser­vice de­liv­ery, pro­vides a more holis­tic model of care that pro­motes re­cov­ery,” she said.

The po­si­tion will be avail­able on a non- on­go­ing ba­sis for an ini­tial one- month term, with the pos­si­bil­ity of ex­ten­sion for up to two years. Ap­pli­ca­tions close on July 27.

DAM GOOD: Artist Jaquanna El­liott be­lieves she can make it rain. Pic­ture: ZAK SIMMONDS

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