Wellways staff recently returned from Hong Kong where they delivered training for our award-winning peer education programs—Building a Future, My Recovery and Wellways to Work—to Kwai Chung Hospital and local NGOs.

The four-day training for hospital senior executives, managers, peer staff, consumers and carers, included presentations on the Wellways community recovery model, peer workforce development in Australia, peer work at Wellways, and our peer education programs and research.

Wellways staff, experienced as peer trainers and facilitators, also presented on the biopsychosocial model, CHIME (Connectedness, Hope, Identity, Meaning and Empowerment) model of recovery, intentional peer support, and family recovery. Training groups ranged from 130 people in a lecture theatre to 35 people in a classroom, many of whom courageously shared experiences of recovery and hope, and stigma within their culture.

Wellways staff were provided with a tour of Kwai Chung Hospital and associated services and learned of the effectiveness of their 24-hour phone service and peer support in employment. Discussion also took place about the possibility of future research collaborations between Wellways and Kwai Chung Hospital.

Delivering the intensive peer education program training, in a new cultural environment, meant steep learning curves for all involved. Materials were translated into Cantonese in advance of the Kwai Chung training, comprehensive preparatory work was done in Melbourne prior to departure, and on-site adaptability was essential to overcome language and cultural barriers during the training itself.

“It was a wonderful and exhausting learning experience,” said Kate Higgins, Wellways Regional Manager of Quality and Service Development.

“We were thrilled at the openness and willingness of our peer colleagues to discuss recovery, their experience of stigma, their hopes for the future and their experience as family members and carers. We have all gained so very much from each other.”