Peer Mentoring Program | Eating Disorders Victoria
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Peer Mentoring Program

Home ~ Find support ~ Peer Mentoring Program

The next round of recruitment for this program is Oct 2020 and Jan 2021. If you are interested in participating, please read this page for eligibility requirements and how to apply. You will be placed on a waitlist and contacted later in the year.

What is a Peer Mentor?

“It can get a bit overwhelming, having so many different treating team members and having to see so many different people and talk. It’s good to just be able to do something a bit more fun, and still be able to talk if that is what you need to do but in a less structured way.” – program participant 

Peer Mentoring can be defined as the help and support that people with lived experience of a mental illness are able to give one another. It is a relationship based on shared experiences, which mentors utilise to assist a participant’s recovery by focusing on strengths, practical supports and developing skills to accomplish self-identified goals.

A Mentor provides valuable insight as someone with a lived experience, which is extremely valuable in the eyes of the participant, providing hope and understanding. Often it is a unique relationship, unlike a friendship or clinical relationship, filling the gap between the two. Often those in recovery have not met anyone who has recovered and as a result, can find it challenging to believe it is possible.

How does the program work?

The Peer Mentoring Program (PMP) provides one-on-one mentoring with an EDV Peer Mentor who has recovered from an eating disorder. Participants in the program must have recently engaged, or be currently engaged, in clinical eating disorder treatment services.

Participants and Mentors meet on a fortnightly basis for 13 sessions, each being up-to three hours at a time. Due to COVID-19, all meetings are currently talking place in online formats.

The mentor supports the participant by working together to develop a recovery focused Mentoring Journal and undertaking activities to achieve identified goals. Common goals include engaging with community life and developing self-care.

The program aims to provide complimentary support alongside clinical treatment to help individuals sustain better recovery outcomes.

Learn more about the program through the below video which was put together to advocate for funding from the Victorian Government.

How will it help me?

The program has proven results for both participants and mentors. Between 2016 -2018, participants in the program participated in an external evaluation, conducted through La Trobe University. Here are some of the outcomes of this evaluation:

The stats:

  • 100% of participants in the program all completed a ‘Wellness Plan’ that formed the structure for sessions and included support information and goals.
  • 100% of participants showed improvements in their Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaires, especially in the areas of eating concern and shape concern.
  • 60% showed improvements in coping skills and the ability to actively manage persistent symptoms and triggers.
  • 66% of participants were not readmitted to hospital.

The feedback:

  • Participants saw their mentors as examples of hope- that recovery from an eating disorder is possible.
  • Participants tended to trust the knowledge and advice of their mentors because of their lived experience.
  • Participants felt accepted and validated by their mentors.
  • Participants appreciated being able to talk openly with someone who understood their experience, but who wasn’t currently in recovery. This allowed them to talk honestly, without the fear of being triggering for the other person.

How much does the program cost?

This is a FREE program. EDV have worked hard to secure Victorian Government funding for this program in order for it to remain free to participants. EDV strongly believe that the Peer Mentoring Program plays an important role in the continuum of care for people who receive hospital treatment for eating disorders, and therefore believe it’s important for government to support it.

Testimonials

“I’ve never been more motivated to change”

“The best thing is meeting someone who has actually recovered from an ED, seeing that it is possible to live a fulfilling life and have a good relationship with food”.

“Opportunities for practical support have been the best thing about being part of mentoring program, using our sessions to do things that can help focus on recovery”.

“The program is the best thing I ever did. Through my treatment I had only ever met other sufferers and wondered if anyone actually ever got better. The peer mentor program showed me that recovery is possible – and worth it.”

“Through the program I can safely express my feelings and emotions, challenge my fear foods in a safe environment, and be provided support and encouragement from someone who has recovered from an ED themselves.”

“An opportunity to see life after anorexia.”

“Someone where I didn’t feel the need to be fake, I could be me. I don’t need to censor what I say or put a brave face on when eating. I can cry, shake and panic and my mentor will be with me throughout it all and encourage me to strive to go that one step further.”

“My mentor showed me what it was like to live without a crippling mental illness, and installed many copying strategies in me that I still use to date. The program not only benefitted my life in so many ways, but it has helped my family too – as they saw the improvements in my mental health whilst participating in the program, and therefore were given confirmation that I was getting better.”

From Peer Mentors

“The program offered me a sense of purpose and the acknowledgement that a difficult time in my life could actually be of use to someone else. It took the sting out of ‘losing’ so much time and effort to the illness and recovery process. Nothing like this existed when I was struggling with my eating disorder, I had never met a person who had recovered until joining this program as a mentor.” – Peer Mentor

“My participants share openly with me about what they are going through and our sessions are rich with recovery focused conversations. This unique relationship which is not friendship, not clinical but somewhere in between makes recovery feel possible.” – Peer Mentor

“As someone who has previously had an eating disorder it would have been incredible to have a program such as this to exist. In the midst of illness it can feel like you will never be well, this program provides proof that people will and do become well.” – Peer Mentor

How can I get invovled?

Participants

If you are an adult (18 years plus) with an eating disorder who is interested in working with a peer mentor to consolidate and sustain steps towards recovery, get in touch today.  To be considered, download and complete the PMP Participant Registration Forms. You will need to provide contact details of your treating GP, Mental Health Practitioner (eg. psychologist, counsellor, clinical mental health social worker) and personal/family support person. All forms must be completed in order to be considered for the program. EDV will be in touch with the outcome. Please note, if you are not currently connected an eating disorder service such as an inpatient or intensive day program, please get in touch and we can discuss your treatment history. 

Participant Registration Forms

Have you been a participant in the Peer Mentoring Program?

Anyone who has completed the PMP is welcome to join the Alumni Participant Group. This is a monthly group that provides ongoing support through engagement in practical selfcare and recovery focused activities. To get involved, please contact the Peer Mentoring Program Coordinator.

Please note that due to COVID-19 the Alumni Participant Group is currently on hold.

Download the outline for group sessions in 2020

Contact

Please send completed forms and enquiries to the Peer Mentoring Program Coordinator, Rachael Duck. If the program is full, you may be placed on wait list for the next round of the program.

rachael.duck@eatingdisorders.org.au
1300 550 236 ext. 214

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