Building collaborative cultures of care

within NSW mental health services

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Collaborative workforce culture

A prepared and compassionate workforce that collaborates with people with lived experience of mental health issues improves experiences and outcomes of care.5

Workforce considerations for collaborative cultures include:

  • professional development and capacity building
  • enhancing leadership, including peers, people with lived experience and carer leadership opportunities
  • application of research and innovation (including trauma-informed care practices) to enable best practice
  • staffing models that provide the most appropriate staffing and skill mix for positive outcomes and experiences of care
  • staff acknowledging the disempowering, stigmatising and at times traumatising nature of mental health services in the past and the impact of restrictive practices.6



Perspectives and collaboration with people with lived experience and caring, families and kinship groups enhances services.7 Working collaboratively shifts power imbalances and promotes empathy.7

A peer workforce:

  • improves experiences of care8-10
  • shows empathy and instils hope11
  • provides positive role models for recovery8
  • fosters engagement in treatment decisions and self-management8
  • strengthens connections to community.12

Peer workers can decrease hospital readmission rates and improve social and functional outcomes for people with lived experience.5912-15 However, there may be some challenges associated with role clarity, ongoing professional development, career progression and support for a peer workforce.16-19