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Ladybird Care's Peer Mentoring Program

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Ladybird Care Foundation provides a peer mentor program to newly bereaved parents throughout Australia. This concept sees a bereaved parent of at least 2 years, trained and connected to a newly bereaved parent for the purpose of providing empathetic support and companionship.  

The trained Peer Mentors develop a supportive peer relationship with a newly bereaved parent, offering empathy, guidance, and a listening ear through a series of regular catch ups, which can be online or in person depending on preferences and location of the participants.  Relationships generally extend for 15 to 18 months.

Ladybird Foundation AMA Queensland Foundation’s support

It costs approximately $800 to recruit, train, match and supervise each peer mentor.  Generous funding from AMA Queensland Foundation is assisting to train up to an additional 25 peer mentors across Queensland over the next year. 

Health benefits

Grief has the potential to become an insurmountable challenge, with significant impacts on mental health and wellbeing, if timely support is not offered. Due to the extremely sensitive nature of child death, the ongoing care of bereaved parents is often overlooked, leaving families feeling isolated and left to navigate this difficult journey alone.  

Peer support models have been signposted as a targeted response to bereavement care in the Public Health Model for Bereavement Support. This contemporary approach acknowledges that while some form of bereavement support is required by everyone who experiences the death of someone close to them, professionalised clinical support is not necessary, needed or helpful for all.  The program is based on best-practice mentoring guidelines. 

A universally-reported experience of bereaved parents has been the struggle to feel understood in the depth and totality of their grief after losing a child. Mentees in the Peer Mentor Program consistently report that they appreciate being able to speak with someone who could truly relate to their experience. Others benefits include decreased feelings of loneliness and an increased sense of hope and finding meaning for the future.

Our story so far

Ladybird Care Foundation commenced in late 2020 and in July 2021 funded a 12 month pilot Peer Mentoring program in the Qld Children’s Hospital to support bereaved parents whose child had died.

With the desire to see the Peer Mentor Program expanded beyond just the Children’s Hospital, in late 2022 the Directors embarked on a plan to operate the Peer Mentor Program in its own capacity.  The remit has now broadened to include parents of adult children who had passed away.

Since June 2023, Ladybird Care Foundation have trained 3 cohorts of new peer mentors and matched these mentors with newly bereaved parents, offering peer mentor support free of charge.  An additional 5 parents have already been approved to commence training in our upcoming June cohort. Our services are now offered throughout regional and rural Queensland and are expanding nationally.

Cohorts 1 and 2, 2023 and the first online cohort from around Australia - March 2024