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Consumer, peer support and lived experience workforce stocktake of available information

Available information, June 2022

This page outlines the available information describing the secondary mental health and addiction consumer, peer support, and lived experience workforce (CPSLE workforce). This relates to the workforce in non-government organisations (NGOs) and district health boards (DHBs). The information is gathered from policy and strategy documents and reports, workforce surveys, and other published information over the last 10 years. New information will be available from the 2022 NGO workforce survey later this year.

Peer workforce size and composition

Workforce surveys conducted in 2018 and 2020 estimate the CPSLE workforce is around 481 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions. Nearly all (96 percent) are employed in adult mental health and addiction services. Peer support workers are the largest role group. In 2020, the child and youth workforce included consumer advisors (4 FTEs) as well as 17 FTE peer support workers. Across services for all age groups, NGOs employ 87 percent of the workforce and DHBs 13 percent; alcohol and drug (AOD) services employ around 17 percent of the adult mental health and addiction CPSLE workforce, and mental health services 83 percent; see Table 1.

Adult services 2018
Peer support worker 315.9 14.2 58.8 271.3 330.1 68%
Whānau support worker 45.1 5.2 39.9 45.1 9%
Subtotal 361.0 14.2 64.0 311.2 375.2 78%
Peer leader, consumer advisor 27.0 42.5 13.3 56.1 69.4 14%
Peer leader, educator 14.1 0.3 13.9 14.2 3%
Other advanced peer roles 1.5 0.5 1 1.5
Adult services workforce 403.6 56.7 78.1 382.2 460.3 96%
Child and adolescent services (2020)
Peer support worker 13.5 3.7 17.2 <4%
Consumer advisor 2.3 1.6 3.9 <1%

Total estimated FTE workforce





Source: Te Pou o te Whakaaro Nui (2015, 2018); Whāraurau (2021).

Note: DHB CPSLE roles include 21 FTE family and whānau advisors. The DHB workforce is likely under-reported due to a lack of information specific to CPSLE roles.

Between 2014 and 2018, the NGO CPSLE workforce in adult services grew by about 30 percent. This was the largest growth rate for all NGO workforce groups (Te Pou o te Whakaaro Nui, 2018).

Development Challenges


The most recent information about peer workforce development challenges comes from the 2018 workforce survey of 231 NGOs (Te Pou o te Whakaaro Nui, 2018). Most (61 to 80 percent) of 36 NGOs responding to a question about recruiting peer support and whānau support workers stated this is difficult; see Figure 1.

Proportion of NGOs reporting recruitment challenges for peer workforces roles

Adapted from Te Pou o te Whakaaro Nui (2018).


From the same survey, among 57 NGOs reporting, nearly two-thirds (63 percent) had no advanced peer workforce roles (for example peer leader and consumer advisor). One-quarter of organisations had well established roles; see Figure 2.

Proportion of NGOs reporting on advanced peer workforce development

Adapted from Te Pou o te Whakaaro Nui (2018).


Te Pou o te Whakaaro Nui. (2015). Adult mental health and addiction workforce: 2014 survey of Vote Health funded services. Te Pou o te Whakaaro Nui.

Te Pou o te Whakaaro Nui. (2018). NGO adult mental health and addiction workforce: 2018 survey of secondary care health services. Te Pou o te Whakaaro Nui.

Whāraurau. (2021). 2020 Stocktake of Infant, Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drug Services in New Zealand. Whāraurau, The University of Auckland.