Public lecture on peer support in recovery a success

In July 2013 NSW Mental Health Commission, in partnership with Mind Australia and The
University of Sydney, hosted a free public lecture presented by Professor Larry Davidson,
looking at the contribution to mental health reform by people who have experienced
mental health challenges.

The response from the community was wonderful with the event relocating to a bigger
room to accommodate more than 180 people in attendance.

Professor Davidson, Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at the Yale
University School of Medicine provoked a lively audience discussion about the active role
that consumers can take in their own recovery, the power of a united voice to change
models of care from clinical to people-centred and the benefits of peer-support in recovery.

Professor Davidson said people with mental illness want the same things out of life as everyone else.

“The key is to facilitate meaningful inclusion in community life and focus on long term functioning.
The peer-support model based on what people in recovery value and need allows us to draw on personal
experience to create models of care,” said Professor Davidson.

“We are instituting peer support [in the US] as its own profession and it’s led by peer supporters,
as it should be. Tens of thousands of people are now providing peer support in the US.”

“Any meaningful activity you can choose to do, other people can be there to support someone in
those activities,” said Professor Davidson.

The audience shared experiences from consumers, carers, practitioners and students.

The public lecture was followed by a meeting of leaders from across the mental health sector to
discuss: Recovery-oriented practice and the peer workforce.

NSW Mental Health Commissioner John Feneley said both meetings were an important opportunity to
discuss the significant merits of peer-supported recovery.

“These were valuable opportunities for consumers, carers, senior academics and leaders within the
NSW public health system to consider the benefits of reforms that emphasise the autonomy of people
who experience mental illness, and the consumers’ right to choose how to live and what care they receive.”

Note: The NSW Mental Health Commission would like to thank the University of Sydney, Faculty of Law
for hosting the these important events.

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