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Peer Mentoring

Ladybird Care Foundation Peer Mentor Program evolved in response to a call from bereaved parents, seeking to meet a peer with a lived experience. Our highly qualified bereavement care professionals actively recruit, train and supervise volunteer peer mentors, with lived experience, to become the human connection of support.

Program and training

Ladybird Care Foundation recognises the role of a parent is never-ending, as is the grief associated with becoming a bereaved parent. The Peer Mentor Program invites membership from bereaved parents whose child died at any age from infancy and into adulthood.

The program is based on best practice mentoring guidelines and co-designed by bereaved parents themselves, to ensure the comfort and safety of mentors and mentees.

All peer mentors have completed a full day training program and receive ongoing guidance and support from professional team members and experienced Peer Mentors, throughout their peer mentoring experience.

How do I become a mentor?

Peer Mentors are parents more than two years bereaved who live anywhere within Australia, and feel it is the right time in their lives to extend care and support to a bereaved peer. Peer Mentoring is a trusted role and bereaved parents interested in becoming a Peer Mentor move through a carefully designed process prior to being invited into the training program.

Talk to someone about being mentored

Many bereaved parents we meet describe feeling isolated in this devastating experience. Meeting a Peer Mentor with a lived experience can bridge the gap between feeling lost and confused in the world and finding a place of comfort and reassurance.

Reaching out for support is not easy and we want to do all we can to ensure you feel safe and cared for.


To take the first step toward meeting a Peer Mentor please complete the form below and we will respond within two working days or  phone the Peer Mentor Program on 1800 954 224.

Enquire about Peer Mentoring

Thanks for submitting!

Ladybird Care extends mentoring support to bereaved parents over a period of 15 to 18 months. This program is not a counseling or crisis support service. If you are seeking grief counseling support we recommend contacting Griefline 1300 845 745 8am-8pm, 7 days (AEDT). If you are seeking urgent emotional support we encourage you to contact Lifeline by phone 13 11 14  or text 0477 13 11 14 24 hours a day, 7 days.

Stories from our Participants

"It’s like you’re in the world but you’re in another world at the same time. The only other people who actually have any idea of what it’s like to be you are other people who’ve lost their child."

Mother, 1 year bereaved

‘‘My involvement in the peer mentoring program has given me a sense of purpose. It has put me in a position of privilege, helping others navigate through this grief journey nobody wants to be on.
What I didn't expect was the blessing in return it has actually been."

Bereaved mother and Peer Mentor

Frequently Asked Questions
for Peer Mentees

What is the Peer Mentor Program?
The Peer Mentor Program is designed to enable relationships between Peer Mentors (bereaved parents who have completed Peer Mentor training) and newly-bereaved parents. The trained Peer  Mentors develop a supportive peer relationship with the 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 the preferences of the participants.

Who can access the Peer Mentor Program?
The Ladybird Care Peer Mentor Program is available free-of-charge to all parents grieving the loss of a child who has died. We acknowledge parenting is a lifelong role and extend care to bereaved parents whose child died at any age, from infancy into adulthood.

Do I need a referral?
No referral is required for this community initiative. All costs of running the program are sponsored by donors of Ladybird Care Foundation.

Who are the mentors?
Mentors are other parents whose child has died. Mentors are at least two years bereaved before selection and training for the program. Mentors receive thorough training and supervision by  bereavement care professionals to ensure the safety of all participants.

What commitment is involved?
After completing an expression of interest, you will be invited to have a video call with the Program Manager, to discuss your needs and expectations of the program. From there, you will be matched with a mentor who will receive a basic profile with your details. The mentor will then reach out to you, usually by text message, to arrange a meeting time. The regularity and length of meetings is completely up to you and your mentor, according to your needs.

The Program Manager will check in with you, about 3 months into your mentoring relationship, to check how things are going for you.


Mentors commit to meet with Mentees for 15 months, at which point a review will be carried out to determine whether it is appropriate to conclude the mentoring relationship or continue the relationship for another defined period.  

What are the benefits of participating in the Peer Mentor Program?
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. Previous Mentees in the Peer Mentor Program have reported that they appreciated being able to speak with someone who could relate to their experience. Other reported benefits have been decreased feelings of loneliness and an increased sense of hope. Some Mentees have spoken about how their mentoring relationship has assisted them with finding meaning for the future.

What about grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles?
At this stage, the Peer Mentor Program is only offered to bereaved parents. We welcome any expressions of interest from other family members to be taken into consideration for future program development.

What do previous participants have to say about the program?
“I had a lot of outside support but mostly not bereaved…they couldn’t see into our hearts and know our exact experience...they care about you, but it’s different. If it’s a bereaved parent you feel more validated and understood. The Peer Mentor Program is the only one where we felt a genuine connection. It’s the one that stood out to us as the most personal.”

“Just do it!  So you have someone to speak with that isn’t direct family…independent but still knows how you feel.”

How do I sign up?
For more information regarding the Peer Mentor Program complete the Expression of Interest here or email

Why Peer Mentoring?

Ladybird Care Foundation Peer Mentor Program:  Integrating the lived experience and research evidence base


Bereavement after the death of a child is a devastating life experience. Learning how to live life without the physical presence of a beloved child can take a lifetime, as can adjusting to the many other losses that arise from this single life event.  We acknowledge the endless love parents hold for their child and the never ending role of parenting no matter a child’s age.  We extend the offer of mentoring care to all bereaved parents across the lifespan.


Ladybird Care Foundation is in the unique position of drawing on the lived experience of bereaved parents, whilst integrating a strong research evidence base to inform the development of a peer mentor program for bereaved parents.


Peer Support models have been adopted in many areas of health and social care including mental health, acute and chronic health management and bereavement. Peer to peer relationships enable a sense of meaning and connection for both peer mentor (a trained companion with a lived experience) and peer mentee (someone seeking comfort in relationship with a peer with a lived experience).


Evaluation of peer support programs demonstrates helpful outcomes for the bereaved by reducing grief symptoms, validation and normalization of grief from a peer with a lived experience, reduced social isolation and expansion of a social network, mutual support, and increased overall well-being.


‘When I look at you, I know you get me and are totally invested in what I'm telling you. Feeling understood is a profound human experience.’ – Bereaved father and Peer Mentee


For mentors, extending companionship can mean discovery of a sense of meaning and purpose in bereavement, a sense of helping others, and increased personal growth. This shared experience is what makes peer to peer programs so powerful, the mutual experience of comfort and connection for both mentor and mentee.


‘My involvement in the peer mentoring program has given me a sense of purpose.  It has put me in a position of privilege, helping others navigate through this grief journey nobody wants to be on. What I didn't expect was the blessing in return it has actually been.’ – Bereaved mother and Peer Mentor


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 support is not necessary, needed or helpful for all. The three-tiered Public Health Model for Bereavement Support describes the needs of the bereaved at multiple levels.


Level 1:  ALL bereaved family members require the comfort, care, compassion and acknowledgement of their loss through the natural support networks of family and friends.


Level 2:  SOME bereaved family members will benefit from additional support beyond their natural support network, and this can be sought within their community and through peer to peer relationships.


Level 3:  FEWER bereaved family members may require support from a specialist therapeutic service.


Ladybird Care Foundation commits to integrating a strong evidence base in our approach to care of the bereaved. Our Peer Mentor Program makes a proactive contribution to the global public health approach to bereavement support recognising the significant impact connections between peers with a lived experience may have for families following the death of a child.



Aoun, S. M., Breen, L. J., Howting, D. A., Rumbold, B., McNamara, B., & Hegney, D. (2015). Who needs bereavement support? A population based survey of bereavement risk and support need. PloS one, 10(3).


Bartone, P. T. (2017). Peer support for bereaved survivors: systematic review of evidence and identification of best practices. Journal of Death and Dying, 0(0) 1-30.


Rumbold, B., & Aoun, S. (2015). An assets-based approach to bereavement care. Bereavement Care, 34(3), 99-102. 


The Irish Hospice Foundation (2020) Adult Bereavement Care Pyramid. A National Framework. Dublin: The Irish Hospice Foundation 

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