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dialogue : masterclass webinars 

lived experience leadership


Brook RED are delighted to bring you another series of lived experience leadership webinars kindly sponsored by Brisbane North PHN.  This event is peer driven, peer designed & peer delivered.

Each month we will be hosting a 90 minute webinar that will bring you Lived Experience Leaders presenting on a topic that they are passionate about and keen to share their knowledge with you.  
At the end of each presentation there will be some time to post questions and interact.

Registration for each webinar opens two weeks prior to the live event.  If you want to receive emails to notify you about this just click here

march masterclass : niki parry


title : the vital role of people who use drugs in the Australian AOD workforce

During this webinar Niki explores the Australian drug user movement, harm reduction, and the characteristics of the AOD peer workforce


Niki Parry is currently employed by QuIHN (the QLD Injectors Health Network) where she has worked for nearly 10 years. QuIHN is a harm reduction focused AOD service, supporting people who use drugs across QLD. Niki is also a director of QuIVAA- QLD’s drug user organisation- operated by and for people who use drugs. She is active in the national drug user movement, advocating for the health and human rights of people who use drugs, and was previously President of AIVL – the Australian Injecting & Illicit Drug Users League – the Australian peak body representing the voice of people who use drugs. She is passionate about developing and supporting the AOD & harm reduction peer workforce, and promotes lived/living experience across the AOD sector.  


She has a Master of Health Management and is currently completing a Master of Addiction.

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april masterclass : hannah komatsu


title : crisis - frightful foe or beautiful bestie?

Hannah Komatsu has been wondering if we’ve all be giving Crisis a bit of a hard time!  Her own experience originally told the story of Crisis as a dangerous life destroying enemy that held no positive intention for her being.  But over time, Hannah started asking, what if that isn’t the full story? What if Crisis is actually more like that that blunt truth telling friend, that has the guts to tell us the bad news, and works to communicate and highlight the things that need attending to in our lives in order for us to be all who we can be? 

Hannah Whittaker-Komatsu celebrates life outside the box.  Her journey into Peer Support began at 22 as a Peer Educator at the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective. Since that time, Hannah has journeyed alongside people in a variety of roles.  Her thirst for understanding the human experience led her to training as a social worker, however she believes the most useful knowledge she has gained is that which is societally undervalued and most often completely unacknowledged; the purposeful and intentional processing of one’s own life Identifying what psychiatry called ‘disorders’ and ‘disease’ were in fact her beautiful attempts at survival has been pivotal to her healing journey.  Currently working in facilitation and programme development across a range of organisations, Hannah believes in the value of experiential learning and our right to claim our incredible resourcefulness that includes our experience of distress and difference.  In her spare time, Hannah developed Thriving Madly, a creative community of mutual support that creates spaces for connection and opportunity to craft wisdom together to weather the storms of life.  Hannah is so incredibly grateful for the support of her whānau, and in particular her two chihuahuas, Tomo and Mochi’s patience with her ongoing attempts to cuddle them.

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may masterclass : sonny-jane

title: lived experience counselling - private peer support practice

Join us for this webinar that will introduce folks to the concept of a private peer support practice as well as the role peer counselling can play when seeking professional support.

Sonny Jane will share their journey of choosing this particular path while drawing upon my own lived experience and experience in peer support and the lived experience workforce. 

learning outcomes:

  • Discover the value of peer counselling and peer support

  • Recognise the role of peer counselling in private practice

  • Learn from an honest discussion of the challenges and success involved in opening a private peer support practice model

  • Identify strategies and tools for peer support providers to utilise to provide peer counselling on their own.

Sonny Jane is a peer counsellor, educator and consultant where they bring all aspects of their lived experience and various identities to their approach and work. Sonny Jane is autistic, agender and disabled who has lived experience of neurodivergence, mental illness and trauma and is passionate about advocating against the stigma of mental health professionals living with a diagnosis.

As well as running their own private peer support practice, they have launched a peer-led drop in care space for young adults in Adelaide and regularly provides a lived experience perspective to organisations and government services with past projects including co-designing a peer support program and presenting in an anti-oppressive practice conference

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june masterclass : gareth edwards

title : putting the super-duper into lived experience supervision

Supervision in Lived Experience roles often has more questions than answers, such as:

  • Who gets to get supervision and what do I get?

  • Is it ok to get supervision from my team leader or manager?

  • How is supervision different from other stuff like mentoring and coaching?

  • And how is Lived Experience supervision different from other supervision?

  • (And what is ‘lived experience’ anyway and is it different to consumer/service user??)

This webinar will explore all of these and more to… maybe find some answers, or at least have a chance to understand the questions a little better.

you’ll come away with perspectives on:

  • What Lived Experience is and why it needs its own kind of supervision

  • How to understand the range of your work-support needs and get them met

  • An example of a Lived Experience supervision model and its application

We’ll also be road testing an idea for a regular ‘Lived Experience Gathering’ - a hosted online space and place to connect with others and chew the collective fat on the good, the bad and ugly of working in our sector when it’s both personal and professional.

bio Gareth is a Lived Experience leader who has been providing supervision, mentoring and coaching since 2006. He was born and raised in Manchester with Celtic ancestry in Scotland, Wales and Ireland, and moved to Aotearoa / New Zealand in 2002 ‘for a year’. He has worked both sides of the ditch, most recently developing a Lived Experience strategy for a PHN and supporting Lived Experience work at the Royal Commission in Victoria.

Gareth was a guest speaker at the last BC (Before Covid) dialogue conference in 2019 and shares his journey through music and stories, including his book The Procrastinator’s Guide To Killing Yourself.

Find out more at https://gareth-edwards.com.  


july masterclass : blake & scarlett - brook RED

title : belong - peer led LGBTIQAP+ support & training at Brook RED

We are queer mental health peer workers who run a training that seeks to increase capacity to create affirming spaces and practice when supporting and working with LGBTIQIAP+ people. This webinar will cover some of the content in our training. We hope to fill knowledge gaps and increase the confidence and skill of people to work with members of the LGBTIQIAP+ community.

webinar will cover;

  • Why are we here? Health outcomes for LGBTQIAP+ people

  • Language inclusivity – What language is helpful and what language is unhelpful

  • Myth busters – common misconceptions about LGBTQIAP+ community

  • The Good Stuff – Protective factors that support wellbeing in the LGBTQIAP+ community

Blake Barber (They/Them) : I am a peer worker and am passionate about creating affirming spaces for LGBTQIAP+ people. I am the RED House Senior Peer Worker and also look after the Belong program at Brook RED. I love that I am able to support others using my lived experience with mental health as well as my identity as a queer and non-binary person. In my spare time I like to hang out with my partner and friends and swim at the beach!


Scarlett Squire (They/Them) : I am a Peer Worker at Brook RED’s Highgate Hill and Bayside community centres. I feel really lucky to be doing work based in recovery and connection, where my own mental health and life learnings are valued and where I can learn from others and their experiences. I enjoy connecting with a diversity of folks. My own lived experience lends itself to connecting with others who are queer-identifying and/or identify outside of the gender binary. I really like hanging out with my dog, scratching about in the dirt, and cooking and eating new things.

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august masterclass : nic juniper Orygen

title : the power of peer’s for young people: peer support work in youth mental health


In this presentation Nic will be discussing Youth Peer Work in practice at Orygen Specialist Program, and their learnings as a Peer Support Work Specialist. Orygen is a service in Metropolitan Melbourne which provides specialist mental health care to young people aged 15 to 25, in both inpatient and outpatient settings.

As a young person living with mental health issues themself, they reflect on their experience going from a consumer of the service, to a volunteer, to an employed member of the team, and how they have seen Peer Work grow over this time.


Key takeaways/learning outcomes:

  • Different modes of Youth Peer Work at Orygen

  • Barriers and enablers of Youth Peer Support Work

  • Supporting Peer Workers and other staff

  • Shifting power and avoiding tokenism (?)


Nic Juniper (they/them) is the Peer Support Work Specialist with Orygen Specialist Program. As a past-consumer of the service, they volunteered their way into an employed role, now supervising a team of sessional and employed Peer Support Workers. They have been occupying the lived experience space for close to 7 years, as a consumer advocate, youth consultant, group facilitator, peer worker, public speaker and presenter.

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