Training and Talks

Much of our work happens in our local communities - inspiring richer conversations about distress in people's living rooms - but we also work in the mental health system. We partner with not-for-profits and government agencies, training their staff and consulting on service design. Our aim is to help contribute to a more hopeful, validating service system. 

Below are some examples of training and talks we offer across Australia and elsewhere.

The system is prickly, the work is gooey

Honor and Graham unpack the central dilemma at the heart of mental health practice. People in crisis are looking for answers - often to profound, existential questions like why should I keep living? These are questions without clear answers. Yet we do this work in a system that likes to pin things down, a system that operates on clear-cut categories, a system in which uncertainty is interpreted as risk. How do we work productively with this dilemma, to help people sit with uncertainty? 

Keynote length talk. Great for large groups (100+), mental health workers and policy-makers. 

Changing the mental health system from within (without losing yourself in the process)

Here's something that doesn't get said enough: peer workers are agents of system change. Why do we create peer roles?  Why go to the trouble of hiring potential service users into our workforce? Because we want to shake  things up. We want a system that values the things people learn from messy life experiences. 

The thing is, changing a system from within is a tough gig. Particularly when you're doing it in a role that does not typically have any formal influence over policy and practice. Peer workers now have a Cert IV, they have various training packages on the philosophy and values of the role, but there's still something missing: skills for system change.

This training explores:

  • How to influence practice from the bottom up - managing up, picking your battles
  • How to be authentic in a work setting, when that includes anger, frustration, and sadness at the way the system works sometimes
  • Why it's so damn hard sometimes - the big picture realities of system reform
  • Playing the long game, but looking after yourself along the way

One to two day training. Great for a small group (15 or less) of peer workers and their managers, and any other professionals keen to draw on their own messy life experiences in their work.

Why us? Together we bring significant experience of peer work and system change. Graham Panther has set up and evaluated a range of peer services across Australia and New Zealand, in community, primary health, and clinical settings. He has trained and supervised peer workers on both sides of the ditch, and his first job was working as part of New Zealand's first peer support service. Honor Eastly trains peer workers, their colleagues, and managers across Victoria and beyond, and has worked as a youth peer worker.