Peer CARE Connect responds to individual and local needs as they arise, while also enhancing and extending existing services. Through mobilising an ‘army’ of trained and supported people with a lived experience of suicide, Peer CARE Connect will provide connection and ‘light touch’ peer support.

Rationale behind Peer CARE Connect:

Throughout Australia there has been a consistent call for more suicide prevention and postvention services to provide greater options and choice. People are wanting and needing flexible, extended, and individually tailored care options, assistance navigating the complex system of existing supports, and new, peer-based service models for individuals and communities impacted by suicide. Government and sector organisations are being called upon by community to meet these calls for change with a strong sense of urgency.

The recent Productivity Commission Inquiry Report, the Prime Minister’s Suicide Prevention Advisor & Taskforce Final Reports and the Victorian Royal Commission into Mental Health all highlight the absolute necessity that people with a lived experience of suicide are centrally involved in all aspects of system reform moving forward, including service design and delivery.

The development of the suicide prevention and postvention workforce is a fundamental cornerstone of this reform and will require the expansion of newly emerging lived experience workforces. It is imperative that they integrate with existing clinical and non-clinical workforces in a way that fosters trust and respect for the unique expertise they all bring to suicide prevention.

Peer CARE Connect is an Australia wide Lived Experience of suicide volunteer workforce designed to complement the emerging specialist and formal Suicide Prevention Peer workforce.

Peer CARE Connect provides ‘light touch’, in-community peer support for individuals and communities impacted by emotional distress, isolation and suicide. It is responsive to the impact of life events, marginalisation, mental health issues and COVID -19. This workforce will expand to consist of a wide network of trained and supported volunteers known as Peer CARE Connect Companions who are capable of complementing and supplementing suicide prevention activity in local communities through two primary modes of operation: