Meet our new Peer Worker!

31 Jan 2024

What is Peer Work?

We’ve recently had a wonderful new peer worker join our team at headspace Wollongong.

This might have you thinking… What is a peer worker? And how might a peer worker help me in my mental health Journey?

I had a chat with the wonderful Meg (She/her), about all things peer work and the amazing ways she is able to support young people at headspace Wollongong.

So, first things first….

What is a peer worker?

Peer workers are individuals who have faced mental health challenges themselves and are now using this experience to support others in their own mental health journey. Peer workers are not counsellors or clinicians, they provide a unique form of support that is underpinned by a shared understanding of how difficult struggling with your mental health as a young person can be.

Meg explains:

Peer work is all about increasing a young person's social and emotional support. It is important in peer work to have mutuality as both the peer worker and the young person have their own lived experience. This means the peer worker will meet the young person wherever they may be on their recovery journey and walk alongside them.”

What type of things can a peer worker help with?

So, we’ve established what a peer worker is, but you may still be thinking … what exactly does support from a peer worker look like?

In short, anything and everything related to your recovery journey!

Meg explains there isn’t just one way to approach peer led support and it depends on the needs and goals of the young person.

Peer work can look however you would like. It can look like discussing your mental health, being supported to reach a goal big or small, or playing Jenga. Again, it’s all about social, emotional support. You may have social anxiety and want to be supported to order a coffee or be experiencing low mood and want support to reconnect with peers.”

A little more about headspace Wollongong’s very own peer worker…

Meg describes herself as an “avid car lover and outdoor enthusiast”. In her spare time, you can find her riding her horse Syd or doing something creative. She also has a passion for music, but her only musical talent is having good ears… so be sure to bring her your recommended favourite songs before you meet her! The things that are important to Meg are being open-minded, kind, and respectful of people’s identities.

What drew Meg to peer work…

Meg explained she was drawn to peer work because of her drive to help others through using her own lived experience. Meg has experienced firsthand how challenging it can be to navigate mental health services in Wollongong, whilst juggling the everyday challenges young people face and wants to use this experience to help others.

What do you love most/ what are you most looking forward to doing in the role?

Meg is fascinated by everyone’s unique story and is looking forward to supporting young people in her role. Meg enjoys empowering young people to be who they are and achieve their personal goals. Being a queer woman, she enjoys continuing headspace's legacy as a safe space for all individuals no matter what race, gender, or sexuality.