Lived Experience Project

Lived experience demonstrates that things can get better, and research increasingly validates its role in providing support and reducing stigma. Across the mental health and alcohol and other drugs (AOD) sectors in particular, peer support is recognised as an effective way to reduce harm.

Led by organisations such as SHARC (the Self Help Addiction Resource Centre), groups are increasingly being delivered in partnership with professional treatment organisations. In the gambling-space, the foundation-funded ongoing ‘Peer Connect’ program supports people with lived experience to provide telephone-based support to others.

A range of innovative prevention projects (ReSpin, 3 Sides of a Coin, ‘Banyule Community Health’s ‘Podcast Project’) also draw upon personal experience in different ways. However, aside from the 12-step modalities (Gambler’s Anonymous, Pokies Anonymous) there are currently no face-to-face peer support groups dedicated to harm from gambling.

Consequently, in early 2018 the foundation will partner with Banyule Community Health to pilot the delivery of a support group, facilitated by people with lived experience. This is an exciting initiative designed to explore possibilities and generate learnings. Some key details:

  • Two people with lived experience will facilitate the group. They will be employed and remunerated at a community worker rate by Banyule Community Health for the duration of the pilot.
  • The group will be located at Banyule Community Health and run weekly for 6-sessions.
  • Group structure and content will be developed collaboratively by considering psychoeducational material through the lens of the facilitators’ experience
  • Banyule Community Health will manage and provide clinical oversight to the facilitators and will be onsite throughout group delivery.
  • An evaluation will offer quantitative and qualitative feedback from the different stakeholders (participants, facilitators, Gambler’s Help professionals)

Findings will be presented to Gambler’s Help services with a view to considering ways to develop the contribution of people with lived experience across the sector.