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Workforce development hub to provide support to the mental health and addiction peer support workforce in Southern

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A lived experience-led workforce development hub to support and mentor our growing consumer, peer support and lived experience (CPSLE) workforce across the Southern district started this month.

The CPSLE workforce includes all people who work in a job where it is a requirement to have lived experience of mental health challenges and/or addiction. 

The hub is part of the development of peer support services in Southern which was identified in the national mental health inquiry, He Ara Oranga and the 2021 Southern Time for Change - Te Hurihanga review.

Carron Cossens, a well-established lived experience leader in the sector with a passion for sharing ideas and learning from others, has been appointed to lead the hub.

The hub will connect CPSLE workers and volunteers across both peer and mainstream organisations in Southern to share information and will provide regular development opportunities.

“The key focus will be on building connections and networks, learning, sharing information, and mentoring. It will also have a role in providing some training and supervision for the workforce, and co-ordinating information about other training and resources to improve practice,” Carron says.

The first steps in setting up the hub will be a website which will provide access to resources and options for training for the CPSLE workforce. There will be resources for specific groups such as consumer advisors, peer support workers and those speaking from their lived experience to allow targeted role growth and support. At the same time there will be the opportunity to connect with the wider CPSLE community.

The hub aims to offer the CPSLE workforce a monthly learning focus as well as monthly connection time online to make and strengthen the relationships with other CPSLE workers. There will also be locality visits to provide updates and to connect and forge relationships to all those working in the CPSLE field.

Carron says the vision of the hub is that the CPSLE workforce will feel connected, supported, and valued and that the tāngata whaiora (a person seeking health), or whānau they work with have a workforce that feels valued, motivated and informed.

“I’m delighted to be setting up the hub, and excited to have been chosen to provide this new service to strengthen and support our CPSLE workforce in Southern.”

“It’s great to see the significant progress in the development of peer support services that has been made in Southern through the Time for Change – Te Hurihanga programme. We have two new services providing peer support, and now the announcement of the hub to support the CPSLE workforce based on what the Southern workforce and community have said they need,” says Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora Southern Group Director of Operations, Hamish Brown.


The development of a lived experience-led workforce development hub is one of the key actions in the Southern Consumer, Peer Support and Lived Experience (CPSLE) Workforce Development Action Plan 2023 – 2025  which was created as part of the Time for Change – Te Hurihanga programme.

The Time for Change – Te Hurihanga programme is a focused programme led by the Te Whatu Ora Southern to address health, equity, location, social and systemic issues and put people at the centre of care. It is part of the direction to transform Aotearoa’s mental health and addiction system over the next 10 years outlined in Kia Manawanui Aotearoa.