Mental Health Peer Work Qualification Development Project

A qualification for Mental Health Peer Workers

In partnership with the National Mental Health Commission (NMHC), Community Mental Health Australia (CMHA) was funded to develop national learning and assessment resources for the Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work CHC42912.

MHCC coordinated this project on behalf of CMHA, and were responsible for developing the resources for the qualification. Broad national consultation was undertaken through a national survey and refrence groups to develop both the consumer and carer streams of training.


Project Update

After a robust consultation and development process, the materials for the Cert IV in Mental Health Peer Work have now been finalised. These are now being uploaded to the National Mental Health Commission (NMHC) website, as training is piloted and reviewed.

To take a look at the resources and download a copy please visit the project page on the NMHC website.

These materials have been evaluated through a pilot delivery of the training, which was funded by the NMHC. This has allowed the materials to be used in a real training environment, and has provided a funded place in the training for 14 peer workers wishing to complete the qualification.


What's next?

Stage 2 of the project is to develop materials for a 3 day Peer Leadership Skills Set training. This is targeted at peer workers who are in senior, leadership or mentoring roles. Development will be finalised and available from the NMHC in July 2015.

For more information about MHCC's Cert IV in Mental Health Peer Work training  click here


The purpose of the project

Completion of this project will allow Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) across Australia to deliver this Peer Work qualification for the consumer and carer peer workforce without duplication of development effort. All resources will be available at no cost through the NMHC.

The aim of the project is to:

  • Develop the required learner and trainer resources so they can be available across Australia
  • Ensure consumer and carer peer workers have their skills recognised by completing a nationally recognised qualification
  • Acknowledge and validate the importance of peer workers
  • Assist to support and grow the peer workforce
  • Assist to cement the peer workforce as an occupational group in community, Government and private mental health services 
  • To ensure Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work is available to consumer and carer peer workers across Australia

Numerous organisations nationally and internationally have undertaken significant work in this arena, and the project aims to work collaboratively to acknowledge this work and encourage participation of all stakeholders.

Background to the project

The peer workforce is arguably the fastest growing workforce in mental health in Australia. Recent Government initiatives that have supported the development of the mental health peer workforce include the FACHSIA funded Personal Helpers and Mentors (PHAMs) program and the DoHA funded Day to Day Living Program which often includes employment of people with a lived experience of mental illness.

Community organisations delivering programs across a range of service types, including family and carer support and education, are increasingly looking to the peer workforce as an effective adjunct to their existing workforce. The Government has broadly identified that many long-term jobseekers are people with a mental illness who would greatly benefit from the opportunity to gain employment and utilise their skills. Government support to undertake this project will significantly contribute to a career pathway for jobseekers with a mental illness.

Based on international evidence and identified sector need, the Community Services and Health Industry Skills Council (CSHISC) developed the Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work to meet the needs of this emerging workforce. Also acknowledged is the need for a skill set for peer workers who are in leadership, mentoring or senior roles.


Project duration

Stage 1 Develop learning and assessment materials for the core and elective units of competence for the consumer and carer stream. These are scheduled for completion by June 2014.

Stage 2 Develop learning and assessment materials for the Peer leadership skills set. This will start in June 2014, with materials due for completion in early 2015.