Become a Lived Experience or Carer Facilitator and help train staff in the Wagga Mental Health Unit

The Mental Health Unit at Wagga Wagga Base Hospital is looking for people to take part in a new project to educate staff, using your lived experience or carer story.

We are inviting people who have experienced mental health, drug or alcohol issues, including people who support loved ones, to join us in delivering a new education package to staff called Safewards.

We are looking for ten people to participate in the project for 12 months commencing in the first half of 2021.

Please read the information below carefully, to see if taking part in this project is right for you.

The Mental Health Unit’s vision is to work respectively and collaboratively with consumers, family/carers, other healthcare providers and the local community, to provide high quality Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol services that meet the needs of the Murrumbidgee community. The care provided aims to be person centred and meet the unique needs of each individual.

The Unit consists of 30 Acute and High Dependency beds, 20 Recovery beds and 16 Older Persons beds and is staffed by Medical, Nursing, Allied Health and Assistants, Family Carer Support Workers, Peer Support Workers and Reception Staff.

The Mental Health Unit has recently started to train staff on a unique care model from the UK which aims to make mental health inpatient service as safe as possible for everyone.

The Safewards model has been found to reduce incidents of ‘conflict’ (such as aggression, self-harm or absconding) and the use of ‘containment’ (such as restricting consumer movement, seclusion, extra medication).

The training teaches staff including nurses, allied health and medical staff in ten interventions which aim to recognise and meet the needs of consumers and use strategies to manage emotions and behaviours without conflict or containment.

The modules include:

  • ‘Soft Words’
  • ‘Know You’
  • ‘Calming methods’
  • ‘Bad News Mitigation’
  • ‘Talk Through’
  • ‘Reassurance’
  • ‘Positive words’
  • ‘Discharge Messages’
  • ‘Mutual Help Meetings’
  • ‘Clear Mutual Expectations.’

We believe that people with lived experience of mental health, drug or alcohol issues, and those who support a loved one with this experience have unique and important views to share.

We want the lived experience and carer story to be part of the Safewards training so staff have more chances to learn from people with lived experience.

Lived Experience and Carer Facilitators will draw on their own experiences to help deliver Safewards training to staff. They will foster open and safe discussions about how people experience care in the Mental Health Unit and where we are able to improve the support that is provided.

No previous experience in delivering training is required, we will provide support and education to enhance your skills. You will also be paid for your time delivering the training to staff.

We are keen to involve people of all ages and cultural backgrounds.

We are looking for people who:

  • live in Wagga Wagga or the surrounding area (and are able to travel to the Wagga Base Hospital Mental Health Unit);
  • have experienced a mental health, drug or alcohol issue, or supported a loved one with this experience;
  • are willing to share parts of your lived or carer experience with Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol staff as part of their training and development;
  • can commit some time to take part in facilitator and Safewards training;
  • are available to deliver education sessions to staff during usual business hours, on a regular basis;

(you will be paid for your time taking part in training and delivering sessions to staff).

As a Lived Experience or Carer Facilitator you will work with other facilitators to deliver training to staff working in the Mental Health Unit at Wagga Base Hospital. You will work in pairs so you will not have to deliver the training alone.

There is some flexibility in times and days but we do ask that you are able to commit to delivering at least one training session per month.

You will be fully supported in your role. You will receive training on:

  • how to facilitate education sessions;
  • safe sharing of lived or carer experience;
  • and training on the content of the course that you will be delivering.

The training will take three days in total, delivered as separate blocks.

You will be paid for your time doing training and delivering education sessions to staff.

As a Lived Experience or Carer Facilitator, you will be asked to think about your own experience of mental health, drug or alcohol issues (or that of a loved one).

You can choose what and how much of your experience you share as part of your role delivering training.

Some of the training sessions you will deliver also discuss difficult topics such as stigma and attitudes towards mental health, drug and alcohol issues, care and treatment in mental health units and supporting people through challenging experiences like distress, self-harm or aggression.

Sometimes, thinking about difficult personal experiences or topics can be upsetting. We ask that you think about whether taking part in this kind of activity is right for you at this time.

We will also talk to you more about this and your wellbeing when you have expressed your interest in taking part.

All Lived Experience and Carer Facilitators will be asked to have a self-care and support plan in place before starting in the role and to participate in debriefing after delivery of each training session. You will be assisted with this and we will provide support during your role.

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If you have any questions or would like to talk about your interest, please contact us on