Staff Profile: Paul Justice

Paul Justice is part of the Metro North Mental Health Peer workforce

Paul Justice is part of the Metro North Mental Health Peer workforce

Paul Justice is part of the Metro North Mental Health Peer workforce, working as a Peer Assistant in DIR Recovery Support. Paul has many years’ experience as a peer support worker and consumer representative in government and community organisations.

Peer workers are staff who have a lived experience of mental health services or have been a carer of someone who has accessed mental health services. They draw on their lived experience of mental or emotional health challenges, service use and recovery/healing to connect supportively with people receiving care in Metro North Mental Health.

Paul has a lived experience of a mental health condition diagnosis and of being in mental health distress and suicidal crisis. He also has a lived experience of disability, living with a musculoskeletal disorder and neurodivergence.

Paul’s lived experience in mental health means that he can relate to people accessing mental health services as he has walked a similar pathway.

“Peer workers have a unique ability to reduce stigma around mental health, breaking down barriers and improving people’s trust of the hospital and health services in their community,” Paul said.

“I provide support to people by listening to their stories, understanding their journey and what it is like to walk a day in their life. I also help identify barriers they encounter and any issues with accessibility.

“Importantly, peer workers also acknowledge the resilience of those with mental health challenges provide them with a space for hope.”

Paul has recently been involved in the development of the Metro North Disability Service Action Plan as a member of the Steering Committee.

“It was empowering to be connected to a group of people in the Steering Committee using their lived experience as consumers and carer/families advocating for accessibility and equality. The Committee provided a voice for change and created pathways for building inclusion, accessibility, diversity and connections,” he said.

“I hope in the future there are more co-design opportunities for those with lived experience. Collaborations between those with lived experience, consumers, carers and staff members can really make a difference in providing better health care services.”

Paul has advice on how those with neurodiversity can be better supported in the workplace.

“Take the time to get to know people that are neurodivergent and appreciate their strengths. Neurodiverse people have different sensory issues and learning styles and require patience and understanding. A few reasonable adjustments can make a difference to their working environment and improve workplace engagement.”

2024-03-22T11:22:29+10:0015 March 2024|
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