This paper shows the critical role of the peer workforce in enabling recovery, improving hope and in transforming the landscape of mental health and addiction services. The potential of this workforce is yet to be fully realised. 

Key findings in the paper include:

  • The peer support approach and values are critical to transforming models of care and addressing wider workforce shortages.
  • There is huge potential for further development of the Māori lived experience workforce, who bring a Te Ao Māori perspective, which incorporates mātauranga Māori, tikanga, and kawa.
  • Peer support is often unacknowledged and under-valued however it has been shown to improve hope, psychosocial outcomes and quality of life for tāngata whaiora / people.

In recent years there has been a marginal increase in the size of the peer support workforce (an increase of 64 FTE or 18% between 2018 and 2022) but it still makes up only 3.4% of the wider mental health and addictions workforce.