Chronic illness peer Support (ChIPS)
The ChIPS program is run by young people for young people. Like to join in?
If you are a clinician and have any questions or would like to discuss the suitability of a referral, please contact the ChIPS coordinators at email@example.com or on (02) 9382 5457.
If you’re a young person or parent/carer who wants to know more or if you would like to self-refer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on (02) 9382 5457.
The Chronic Illness Peer Support (ChIPS) program is a service run by young people for young people aged 14-25 years living with a chronic health condition and/or disability.
ChIPS provides psychosocial support in a safe and inclusive setting, offering opportunities to connect with others who share similar experiences. The service is delivered through a variety of engaging, peer-led content and projects, accessible both in-person and online.
Our aim is to build on emotional awareness, independence, and self-esteem to support a young person on their healthcare journey.
Programs for ChIPS members
Ever had thoughts that you are the only person who thinks and feels this way? Potato Peels is a wellbeing group that explores the emotional impact of living with a chronic health condition and/or disability. This space is available for you to share your experiences and hear from others on topics, such as; body image and self-esteem, coping with change, grief and loss, positive peer relationships, and setting boundaries.
Managing your mental health and wellbeing alongside your chronic health condition and/or disability can be overwhelming. Sometimes we just need some extra support from our peers, or a space to discuss things that people who do not live with a chronic health condition and/or disability understand.
Potato Peels is led by staff and uses peer-engagement to support the sharing of lived experience in a safe and inclusive way. It is delivered online over 5 weeks (1.5 hours weekly), so you can join in from home!
Want to meet other young people IRL? Potato peels also runs in-person as a 2-day intensive (subject to availability).
Solo Spuds is a 5-week online group that explores key concepts relating to self-management, health-literacy, and independence.
What is self-management? Health care staff are going to expect you to start looking after your health independently, especially as you prepare to transition your health care to adult services.
We understand this time is full of uncertainty and the unknown, but also opportunities to test out new skills and do things on your own!
Topics we look at
- navigating life after school
- making the most out of medical appointments
- transitioning to adult services
- being your own advocate
We will break these down into smaller steps for you with some practical guides to adulting!
Looking for a space that explores health care and your experiences in a creative way? Communication is diverse, and there are many effective ways to share and be heard.
Creative connect runs frequently throughout the year, engaging young people in art making practices (visual arts, creative writing, music etc.) to develop confidence in self-expression and build on self-awareness.
Workshops run both face-to-face and online, with support from local artists.
ChIPS members regularly contribute to the Sydney Childrens Hospitals Foundation Summer Art Exhibition, plus there are many more opportunities to share your content.
Please head to Creative Connect Projects below to see some of the exciting things we’ve been up to!
Managing your health can be social! As we get older, we understand more about our communication styles and what we look for in relationships with other people, friends, family, work colleagues and peers. It is important we balance health care management with or social wellbeing and develop healthy relationships that are supportive. There are many opportunities to connect with other young people who share similar lived experiences in ChIPS. We look forward to seeing you there!
ChIPS would like to acknowledge our wonderful volunteer staff, the Sydney Children's Hospitals Foundation (SCHF) for their fundraising support, and our key donor Peter Davidson for his ongoing philanthropic support. Thank you for valuing the ChIPS program and our incredible community.
ChIPS Creative Connect projects
- The Chronicles publication: Issue 1
- The Chronicles publication: Issue 2
- The Chronicles publication: Issue 3
- The photo Postal Pal Project
- My illness won't stop me
- Frequent Flyer - music video
- Wake Up Call - music video
- The making of Wake Up Call documentary
Chronic Conundrums – Podcast
Chronic Conundrums has been created by four young people living with chronic illness and/or disability to create a space for conversations about their realities.
Hosted by Joel Brookes and Lani Puse, with writing and research by Charlotte Mckenzie and Charlie Moten, the podcast explores a range of experiences from diagnoses and hospitalisations to treatment and health care transition services. The podcast invites audiences into the anchors’ imperfect humanities, challenging chronic illness and disability narratives. The team aspires to reach all members of the community, those with lived experience or without; to educate and engage a platform for youth health advocacy in the broader community.
Chronic Conundrums is endorsed by the Sydney Children's Hospitals Network. This podcast is not intended to be a substitute for professional mental health advice. If you find any topics explored potentially triggering, please seek help from a local mental health professional or contact Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 for 24-hour advice.
Chronic Conundrums was funded by a Youth Grant from the NSW Department of Communities and Justice's Youth Opportunities program, with the support of Sydney Children's Hospitals Foundation. Thanks to Dr Adam Hulbert and The University of New South Wales for supporting recording and post-production work, to Ethan Puse for writing and producing the music for the podcast, and to Sweeney Interpreting for interpreting services supporting accessibility.
Other Opportunities for Young People at SCHN
Youth Arts Program SCHN
The Youth Arts Program at SCHN works with young people to develop arts-based projects and initiatives that aim to promote positive access to health care access and treatment by giving young people a platform to creatively connect to their experiences and share their stories. Send us an enquiry.
Youth Council SCHN
The Youth Council is made up of young people (aged 14-24 years) who want to make positive changes within our services. Check out their page for more information or contact the team at SCHN-PatientandFamilyEngagement@health.nsw.gov.au
To be eligible for referral to ChIPS you must be:
aged between 14-25 years old
receiving healthcare from Sydney Children’s Hospital Network
living with a primary diagnosis of a chronic health condition and/or disability
seeking to engage in peer support in relation to your chronic condition and/or disability.
ready and willing to safely participate in a group setting
able to attend an intake program (5 hours in-person).
Please note that ChIPS does have a waitlist, so there may be some time between referral, assessment, and entry into the program. We will do our best to keep you updated along the way!
If you are a young person or parent/carer, you can self-refer to ChIPS by emailing us at email@example.com with the subject “ChIPS referral”
If you are a healthcare worker, you can make a referral to ChIPS via consultmed or eMR (add > order > ChIPS referral)
If you are a clinician and have any questions or would like to discuss the suitability of a referral, please contact the ChIPS coordinators at firstname.lastname@example.org or on (02) 9382 5457
If you’re a young person or parent/carer who wants to know more or if you would like to self-refer, please email email@example.com call us on (02) 9382 5457.
Looking for more support?
We've found these services, many of which offer programs for young people.
If you know of a support group that's not on this list, please tell us so we can share da love!
- ChIPS at Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne
- Livewire Online peer connection for teens (12-18 years old) with serious illness, chronic conditions, and/or disability.
- Creaky Joints for arthritis patients
- Get Psorted for Psoriasis Facebook page
- Crohns & Colitis Australia
- Canteen: If you’re 12-25 and dealing with your own or a close family member’s cancer, Canteen is in your corner.
- Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (SCIA) offer a Peer Support Program. They have recently decided to appoint a specific Paediatric Peer Support Worker to help support young people with newly acquired SCI.
- Diversity & Disability Alliance is a user-led disability support organisation, run by and for people with disability from diverse backgrounds with the support of families and allies. A variety of different peer support services and programs.
- Muscular Dystrophy NSW Peer Connect Program
- Chronic Illness Alliance
- Cerebral Palsy Sporting and Recreation Association - while not specifically youth-focused they offer a mentor program for people wanting to start out in a new sport which might be a way in for young people with CP to connect.
- Raise Mentoring Program – early intervention strategy for high school students. In partnership with schools and the broader community, they support young people to navigate challenges and believe in themselves.