Debra - The power of peer work; understanding that brings freedom

Feeling understood by my peer worker gave me a real sense of belonging for the first time and helped me shift my focus from what I’d lost to what I wanted in life.

Career success had been the centre of my life since being told in my 20’s that I was unable to have children so the loss of a career I loved, in my 40’s, was devastating. I was hospitalised and lived with deep shame. Sitting on a sofa bed in mum’s shed I wondered how things had come to the point where I felt so alone and after 10 months of unemployment I questioned my abilities and worth.

As an outpatient, clinical support felt like compliance. I struggled to see a way forward. Then a health worker started coming around and spending time with me each day. With encouragement, I started taking better care of myself, grew less anxious and went along to a Personal Helpers and Mentors group where I connected with peer workers. They get it at a personal level so I felt safe to open up.

The ‘aha’ moment came when my peer worker challenged me to see my lived experience in the grander scheme of my life. I was able to laugh at myself and laughing reminded me of the person I was at my core. That experience of how powerful peer support can be set me on a new career path with Flourish Australia where having meaningful work built my confidence to overcome fear of isolation.

I’m now a senior peer worker. I’ve trained dozens of others, love being part of an inclusive work culture and live a fulfilling life with a loving partner.

experience dark moments but remind myself that I pushed through to achieve things I thought would never be possible for me again. When I share my story I can sense the ‘me too’ in others which has changed my world view completely and inspires me to always be authentic – my vision, my values, my voice! 

Become a peer worker

We value lived experience and believe peer support is a powerful part of the mental health recovery journey. Flourish Australia are proud to have built Australia’s largest peer workforce

For more information, contact us on 1300 779 270 or make an enquiry now.