Peer Mentoring Program | Eating Disorders Victoria

The Peer Mentoring Program (PMP) support adults with an eating disorder upon discharge from a hospital inpatient unit or in transition out of an intensive day program. It provides one-on-one mentoring with an EDV employee who has recovered from an eating disorder.

The program is one of its kind not only in Victoria but also Australia-wide. It is designed to:
• Provide hope to participants that recovery is possible
• Improve quality of life for participants and mentors
• Reduce hospital readmission rates

 

Current funding

In its third year, the program is possible due to the philanthropic grants from the William Buckland Foundation, Ian Potter Foundation and John T Reid Charitable Trusts; and a contribution from the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services.

The program is funded until 30 June 2019. We are campaigning to secure future funding, head here for more details.

History

The PMP was developed in 2016 in partnership with Eating Disorders Victoria, the Austin hospital and St Vincent's Hospital Body image and eating disorders treatment and recovery service (BETRS). Funding for the development, pilot and evaluation of this program has been provided by The Ian Potter Foundation, John T Reid Charitable Trusts and The William Buckland Foundation. During the first two pilot years 32 participants were referred with 279 mentoring sessions held.

This infographic displays the achievements of the pilot program. The evaluation team has published a paper which outlines the study which aims to assess the efficacy of a peer mentoring program for individuals. The paper can be found here.

 

What is a Peer Mentor?

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 of 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?

Participants are matched with an EDV Mentor and meet on a fortnightly basis for 13 sessions, each being up-to three hours at a time. The mentor supports the participant by working together to develop a recovery focused ‘Wellness Plan’ and undertaking activities identified to achieve identified goals. Common goals include engaging with community life and developing self-care.

 

Outcomes

The PMP has been running since 2016 with the first mentoring relationships starting in February 2017. During this time mentors and participants have participated in an external evaluation to determine outcomes of the program. To date there has been 38 participants referred to the program, 18 Mentors trained and over 300 sessions held.

Some of the results from the first pilot program include:
• 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.
• 100% of mentors found the program to be of benefit to their own recovery, allowing them to unpack aspects of their recovery whilst having access to a support team if issues arose. Mentors viewed the program as positive allowing them to gain further perspective on their own recovery journey.

 

Program quotes

Mentors:
• “I’ve never met a group like the other peer mentors before. I remember sitting there on the first day thinking, “Who ARE these people – they’re incredible!” It’s so hard to put into words. I’ve just never met such an inspiring bunch of empowering, amazing people my entire life. I was in awe, and I still am!”

• “Getting to use my lived experience, you know, past experiences that were quite negative and traumatic, and then being able to use it in a positive way”

• “I felt like it just reminded me how lucky I am that I actually got through all of that, I was really unwell and I was not necessarily recovering in the greatest way”.

• “Recovery is not perfect”

• “Recovery is about being able to deal with those emotions without the coping strategy of ED. While the negative emotions might be big, so are the other positive ones.”

“Mentoring gave me opportunities to learn things about myself and to build skills in those areas, as well as to learn how to work through challenges.”

“I wish a program like this existed when I had an eating disorder”.

Participants:
• “I was looking for a quick fix. I wanted to get better overnight. She said “that’s not going to happen, you need to accept that it’s going to take time.”

• “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.”

• “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”.

 

Want to get involved?

Participants
If you are an adult (18 years plus) with an eating disorder who is engaged in inpatient or intensive day program treatment and 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 Form and request to share information forms. EDV will be in touch with the outcome.

Mentors
If you have recovered from an eating disorder and would like to apply to be a Mentor, contact EDV PMP Coordinator Rachael Duck This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 1300 550 236.
Note – we are not currently recruiting for new Mentors, but are able to add you to the wait list for future intake.

Contact
For all enquiries and questions contact Rachael Duck, EDV’s PMP Coordinator:
1300 550 236
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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