Our award-winning Wellways peer education programs—Building a Future, My Recovery and Wellways to Work—are going international. Late last year, delegates from Kwai Chung Hospital, Hong Kong, visited St Vincent’s Mental Health and Wellways to share knowledge on mental health service delivery, in particular peer workforce development and peer programs. This lead to the development of a partnership to deliver Wellways peer education programs at Kwai Chung Hospital in January 2017.

The exchange forms part of the work of the Asia Australia Mental Health consortium. The consortium works with the mental health leadership of governments, academic institutions and peak professional bodies in the Asia Pacific region. The consortium’s focus is on solutions to the growing global epidemic of mental illness and support for regional partners to build mental health service capacity.

Kwai Chung Hospital, one of two psychiatric hospitals in Hong Kong, considers Australia a leader in peer workforce development and peer education. While Kwai Chung Hospital has been training peer support workers since 2014, they recognised a need to enrich their current peer support service training program.

Wellways will deliver the Kwai Chung Hospital training from 16-19 January 2017, focusing on the development and delivery of the three Wellways peer education programs. Hospital executives and staff, personnel from Hong Kong’s Hospital Authority and Social Welfare Department, NGOs, health care professionals, mentors, consumers and carers will attend the training. This is the first time that Wellways peer education training has been delivered in Asia, representing an opportunity for the international expansion of the Wellways programs in the region.

“We are looking forward to partnering with Kwai Chung Hospital to apply our evidence based peer education programs within their local context’ says Kate Higgins, Wellways Regional Manager, Quality and Service Development.

“We expect there will be mutual learning in regards to peer workforce development and peer education”.

Wellways already has extensive experience in running its peer education programs and Partners in Recovery program to the Chinese community in Melbourne. Wellways peer educators anticipate sharing ideas from their local experiences with their Hong Kong colleagues.

Work has begun on translating the Wellways programs into traditional Chinese, and Kwai Chung Hospital and Wellways will evaluate the impact of the peer education training and programs for people with a lived experience in Hong Kong.

Dr Lo Tak Lam, Kwai Chung Hospital’s Chief Executive, notes: “I wish the project team every success in developing a pragmatic and culturally sensitive package to suit our peer support workers in Hong Kong.”