Peer Workers play an important role in supporting recovery for people experiencing eating disorders and in building the system of care

Peer Workers, also called Lived Experience Workers, are people who draw on their lived experience and knowledge of recovery from an eating disorder to help others achieve improved recovery outcomes or to improve service planning and delivery. They include people who have personal experience of an eating disorder and family members and others who have experience of caring for someone with an eating disorder.

Peer Workers may work one-on-one or in small groups with people seeking recovery from an eating disorder and/or their carers, providing a non-clinical adjunct to treatment. Other Lived Experience Workers use their experience in service and system development, for example by contributing to co-design processes to ensure the needs of people with lived experience are understood and reflected at all levels of service delivery.

In 2019, NEDC commissioned a Peer Work Guide to support the implementation of evidence-based peer work in treatment and support services for people with eating disorders.

The Guide is made up of six distinct but linked documents. Readers can “dip in” to the section that they need when they need it:

How To Use This Guide

Part A Peer Work Guide Evidence Review

Part B The Peer Work Approach

Part C1 Codesign for Change

Part C2 Robust Recruitment

Part C3 Supporting Practice

Part C4 Introductory Learning Resources

Eating Disorders Peer Workforce Guidelines

To build on NEDC's Peer Work Guide, Butterfly have released the Eating Disorders Peer Workforce Guidelines. The Guidelines set out principles to guide eating disorder peer work and clarify minimum education, training, recruitment, supervision and safe practice standards to support the ongoing development of a safe, effective and sustainable peer workforce for eating disorders.   

These Guidelines are for:

  • Individuals working in, or seeking to work in, the eating disorders peer workforce 
  • Organisations that currently have or seek to incorporate an eating disorders peer workforce 
  • Education and training institutions 
  • Peak bodies

The Butterfly Collective

The Butterfly Foundation has established the Butterfly Collective – an online community of people across Australia who either have lived experience of an eating disorder or body image concerns, or are a support, family member or friend of someone with a personal experience. This community is designed to help Butterfly amplify the voice of people with a lived experience by inviting its members to take part in activities which will help to shape their work.

To find out more or to register click here