Peer CARE Connect: in Community will provide a ‘golden thread’ of trained and supported community members with lived experience of suicide known as Peer CARE Connect Companions. The volunteer-based service will strengthen the existing network of suicide prevention services including aftercare, postvention and safe spaces, and address service and support gaps in community by providing ‘light touch’ peer support and connection.

Roses in the Ocean already has in-principle support from a number of key suicide prevention service providers, and will develop further formal partnerships with both national and local service providers and the Wesley Lifeforce Suicide Prevention Networks to enable collaboration and integration of Peer CARE Connect Companions with existing community supports.


Objectives:

Peer CARE Connect: in Community will:

  1. provide an agile, responsive face to face support network of Peer CARE Connect Companions in communities across Australia who will enhance a range of existing services and fill needs gaps.
  2. be committed to an assets-based approach to developing community capacity, supporting local communities to Identify what is already working well, provide resources to further strengthen Its existing assets, and build capacity for local community members to develop complementary supports.
  3. address issues of loneliness and social isolation exacerbated for many through the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as other marginalised groups in our communities.
  4. develop the capability of local community members to be a readily available resource that can be flexibly deployed for a range of applications, including:
    • Aftercare
      • supplementary volunteer peer workforce for aftercare services (TWBSS and HOPE services)
      • ongoing connection and ‘light touch’ support for aftercare clients beyond the 3-month limitation of the service
      • Peer CARE Connect: warmline
    •  Postvention
      • supplementary volunteer peer workforce for postvention services (StandBY, NSW Post Suicide Support, and others)co-ordination of or contribution to practical support to community members after suicide loss – making meals, walking pets, coffee catch ups
      • Peer CARE Connect: warmline
    • Safe Spaces
      • additional resourcing for safe spaces to run social activities, prepare and offer refreshments, tend to gardens, and informal interaction with guests
      • service navigation for people in distress
      • accompany guests of safe space to other services they are connected to
    •  COVID-19
      • related isolation companionship
      • encouragement to engage in social activities in community
    • Older Persons
      • accompanying older persons to access social groups or services
      • ‘light touch’ peer community in-reach
      • companionship in aged care residencies
    •  Carers
      • support and service navigation for carers of people in suicidal crisis
      • service navigation
    • General community
      • community event support, awareness raising and stigma reduction initiatives
      • service navigation
      • in-reach service for people who struggle to connect with services
    • Addressing loneliness & need for connection
      • companionship to increase connection and combat loneliness in community
      • connection for people impacted by isolation of COVID-19 and natural disasters

Training & Support for Peer CARE Connect Companions

Training: 

Roses in the Ocean has a well-established capacity building workshop for Peer CARE Connect Companions designed and delivered to equip people with lived experience of suicide with the confidence and skills to provide ‘light touch’ peer connection and support, whether face to face or over the phone.

Peer CARE Companion was adapted for virtual delivery during COVID-19 providing a cost effective, inclusive solution to training people across Australia regardless of location, COVID restrictions and accessibility barriers.

Through the Federal Budget 2021 expansion commitment, Roses in the Ocean will train and support a diverse and inclusive network of Peer CARE Connect Companions such that local community members with a lived experience of suicide have the requisite skills to meet the unique local and cultural needs of people impacted by suicide in their own communities.

Our existing partnership with Living Works will support the coordination of suicide intervention skills training to complement Roses in the Ocean’s workshops. All Peer CARE Connect Companions will complete the online START workshop, and some will be provided with ASIST training depending on the roles they are engaging in.

All Peer CARE Connect members will be required to hold the relevant jurisdictional Vulnerable Person’s card and complete a “readiness” call with a Roses in the Ocean Mentor to explore their readiness and present suitability for a volunteer peer role.

Online self-paced (refresher) training modules will be developed to support ongoing skill development and refresher training.

Support:

Peer CARE Connect Companions will be supported through Roses in the Ocean’s established Suicide Prevention Peer Workforce team who deliver training and specialised Suicide Prevention (SP) Peer Workforce Support Services. Monthly Group Co-reflections with small groups of Peer CARE Connect Companions will be provided.

Regional Peer CARE Connect Coordinators will be recruited to support statewide networks and lead regional Communities of Practice.

Clinical supervision will be provided the Peer CARE Connect Manager & Coordinators