There are many potential benefits of Lived Experience roles including benefits for the organisations they work for, their colleagues and most importantly, for people accessing services, their families and significant others. There are also significant challenges facing the effective development of this workforce.
Meaningful inclusion of Lived Experience workers is in line with an ongoing service transformation agenda and efforts and provides a benchmark for contemporary, recovery-orientated, person-directed service delivery. However, the way Lived Experience workers are employed is often ‘ad hoc’ with little or no industry wide standards for resourcing or pay.
While current national and state guidelines recommend future development of Lived Experience work, there are a number of challenges for both Lived Experience workers and the organisations that seek to develop and implement a Lived Experience workforce. Some of these challenges include:
No accountability or auditing
A lack of exposure to and understanding of Lived Experience roles, which reduces the perceived value of the roles
Lack of award wage, union or dedicated Peak Body
Greater structures and formalisation of the Lived Experience workforce is needed to improve equity but still allow for individual role flexibility. For more on the challenges and strategies to address these challenges, please go to ‘Challenges for Lived Experience roles‘ under Our Research.
The benefits of Lived Experience work are many and far-reaching as seen in the diagram below. For more on the benefits please go to ‘Management Perspectives’ under Our Research.
Respect and Value
While Lived Experience workers are a key reform strategy, respecting and valuing lived experience is broader than just employing designated Lived Experience roles. Respect and value includes:
Acknowledging the expertise each individual holds regarding their own life and mental wellbeing and/or that of their friend, family member or significant other.
Promoting a workplace culture in which it is safe for all people, including those in non-designated roles to disclose.