emerge – Peer Support

“What made a difference was connecting with people who shared similar experiences and feelings.” – Graham

emerge offers counselling and support to young people aged 16-25 who require extra levels of support and care. 

The emerge team will provide you with youth friendly therapy, peer support, functional recovery support and will help you to coordinate your care and gain support from other services.

What is peer support?

Peer Support is a shared journey with a Peer Support worker, who also has a lived experience of mental health issues. 

The journey is built on mutual respect, sharing and learning, and working towards recovery oriented goals. 

Led by you, the Peer Support Worker may sometimes share their lived experience with you, talk about strategies for coping and provide hope for increased wellbeing. They can work alongside you to achieve the things that you want to. 

What do we do?

  • Offer active and compassionate listening.
  • Provide help with finding your identity outside of your mental illness.
  • Assist you to see your strengths, and improve your self-worth.
  • Work with you to set holistic goals (e.g. social, physical health, hobbies, employment/study).
  • Build confidence and assist self-advocacy. 
  • Help develop a Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP), Crisis Plan & Safety Plan.
  • Discover the recovery model together and improve your quality of life.
  • Provide help with navigating the system.
  • Work to improve your social skills and create community connections.
  • Share tools and coping strategies that have personally worked for our Peer Support Workers.
  • Develop a solutions focussed way of thinking.
  • Use stories from our Peer Support Worker’s own lived experience when appropriate.

Advantages of the lived experience approach

There’s no replacement for lived experience – Peer Support Workers have navigated the system before, faced stigma, and understand mental illness and recovery at a very intimate level. This is what makes their approach 
genuine, non-judgemental and empathic.

Our workers aim to:

  • Be client directed and person centred.
  • Reduce social isolation and feelings of loneliness.
  • Improve your self-worth and develop a strong identity outside of having a mental illness.
  • Reducee stigma.
  • Improve communication with clinicians and other services.
  • Improve quality of life.

For more information

Get to know some of our peer support workers

“I believe in improving life conditions to improve mental health. I’m interested in creativity, humour, good connections with people and writing! I’ve been getting into more exercise and healthy food lately, which has really made a difference to my mental health.” 
Peer Support Worker – Edinburgh North


“Crows fan and dog lover, I make an amazing Mexican banquet. On the weekends you’ll catch me camping, playing footy or designing tattoos. What I love about peer work is that I can take a step away from the medical model. It’s all about working alongside the other person and building a relationship, there’s no power imbalance, judgement or stigma. I actually learn as much from the young person I am working with as they do from me! Passionate about: working with young people who self-harm, trauma informed care, reducing stigma, obsessive compulsive disorder and the LGBTQIA community.”
Peer Support Worker – Onkaparinga

Making a referral

The emerge service is for young people aged 16-25.
As a young person, you can refer to the centre on your own, or you could be referred by a GP, school or health and community worker. 

Family members, carers or friends can also refer on your behalf! However, referrals must take place with your consent. 

To make a referral, simply call us with the number provided, or fill out the referral form available on our website and email or fax it to us. 

Once we receive your referral, we will be in touch as soon as possible. 

emerge is not currently accepting referrals from tertiary services or community mental health teams or young people linked with these teams. We hope to offer this ability within the coming months.

Volunteering with emerge

Because the most important voice at our service, is yours!

Are you a young person?

If you’re passionate about helping young people and making a difference in your local community, you can get involved in a number of ways! These include joining our Lived Experience Youth Group and giving us feedback.

Are you a family or friend?

Join our Family and Friends Group and be involved in quality improvement and evaluation of the emerge service for family members and friends.

Contact Sonder

There is no wrong way to contact us

The emerge team supports young people in the Northern & Southern metropolitan regions of Adelaide, with services delivered at our headspace sites:

headspace Onkaparinga
3/50 Esplanade, Christies Beach SA 5165
Phone    (08) 8186 8600  Fax (08) 8186 8699

headspace Edinburgh North
2 Peachey Road, Edinburgh North SA 5113
Phone    (08) 8209 0700   Fax (08) 8252 9433

This service is supported by funding from the Australian Government through the PHN Program