Peer support services
Peer support is sharing and receiving practical information, experiences, and emotional support with someone else on a similar journey. People describe it as talking with someone who has “walked the walk”.
How does peer support work?
Peer support services include a range of activities, from informal conversations between peers, through to formal programs that might involve trained and paid peer support workers. Activities can be face-to-face, over the telephone or internet catch ups; between two or more people; or as part of a larger group.
While peer support services cannot take the place of your GP or health professionals they can provide you with valuable support.
Who can access peer support?
Peer support services operate nationwide and address many different areas including mental illness or injury, physical injury, disability and chronic (persistent) pain. Services offer support to those injured or unwell, as well as family and friends who may be caring for, or affected by your injury or illness. Peer support services may also offer a supportive environment if you are grieving a loss or feeling isolated.
How much does peer support cost?
Peer support services are generally free. While peer support services are not funded by the TAC, the TAC recognises that they can be a valuable support for you.
Types of peer support
It is not unusual to feel sad, angry, anxious or guilty following an accident. These feelings can be overwhelming and sap your energy and confidence. Peer support services may help you to understand and control your symptoms, increase your belief in your ability to reach goals and complete tasks and cope with stress, and ultimately improve your quality of life.
Chronic (persistent) pain
Chronic or persistent pain is pain which continues beyond the expected recovery time for an injury. If you have persistent pain, a peer support service may help you to understand your pain, get back in control of your symptoms and introduce you to a supportive environment with other people who understand some of how you feel.
Peer support services can be an integral part of returning to independent living following serious injury or illness or for those whose living circumstances have changed. The contacts you make may help you to understand and engage in treatment and therapy with a more positive outlook and to reconnect with your community at the right time.
Can I use my regular treatment or therapy services while I am using a peer support service?
Yes, peer support services can complement your rehabilitation treatment or therapy. However, peer support services should not take the place of medical or allied health treatments and if you have any concerns about engaging with a peer support service or program you should check first with your GP or treating team.
Where can I get more information?
Speak to your GP or treating practitioner. Your local council or community health centre may also have information on peer support services available in your local area.
For further information related to Mental Health and/or Persistent Pain, visit the TAC website and search for ‘mental health and persistent pain resources.’ Please call 1300 654 329 to request a copy.
Where do I find peer support services?
There are a large number of peer support services across Victoria and Australia. Listed are a few that may be helpful to TAC clients, their families and carers.
Road Trauma Support Services (RTSS)
T: 1300 367 797
Peer support services for Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)
LifeMoves by BrainLinks
An 8 week peer support program for people living with an ABI.
T: 1800 677 579
The Compass Clubhouse by Melbourne City Mission
Operated by and for adults who have experienced an ABI.
T: (03) 9486 4399
Geelong ABI Clubhouse by Karingal
151 Pakington St. Geelong
Open to anyone over 18 years of age who has an ABI.
Open Tuesday, between 10.30am – 2.30pm
Peer support services for chronic (persistent) pain
Australian Pain Management Association
For everyone in the community living with pain and their family members
Arthritis and Osteoporosis Victoria
T: 1800 263 265
Peer support services for mental health
Grow Better Together Caregivers Groups
For those over 18 who provide significant support to a person with a mental illness.
T: 1800 558 268
Finding Life in Individuality by Headspace Barwon
For those between 12–25 years of age with mental health issues.
T: 0447 799 736
Online Forums by Beyond Blue
An online forum where people can share their experiences of depression, anxiety or a related disorder.
T: 1300 22 4636
Web chat available 3pm – 12am
Anxiety Disorders Association of Australia
Weekly meetings open to all.
No bookings required and there is a small attendance fee
Mental Health Foundation of Victoria
For anyone with a mood disorder, and family or friends welcome to attend.
T: 03 9826 1422
A variety of support is available including open peer support facilitated by consumers, family/carers, groups facilitated by health professionals and one-to-one peer support, education and advocacy.
Carer Helpline: 1300 550 265
Peer support services for physical injury
Australian Quadraplegic Association (AQA)
For people with a SCI or similar physical disabilities.
Limbs 4 Life
Amputees connect with volunteers who share their knowledge and experience to assist others during their transition.
T: 1300 782 231