National Practice Standards for the Mental Health Workforce

This document, published in 2002, contains the twelve practice standards for those who work in mental health services within the professions of psychiatry, nursing, social work, psychology and occupational therapy.


The Practice Standards also provide a guide for education and training curricula. The aim of mental health curricula should be for students to achieve most of the Practice Standards at the completion of the course. Continuing education in the workplace and/or additional postgraduate studies will expand on knowledge and skills over time. It is anticipated that education providers will use the Practice Standards, the National Standards for Mental Health Services and disciplinespecific competency standards to ensure that graduates are aware of the core knowledge, skills and attitudes required in current and future mental health service delivery.


Of key importance is the premise that any health professional entering the mental health workforce, or completing undergraduate or postgraduate mental health courses, should have the opportunity to be educated by mental health consumers, their family members and carers about their 'lived' experiences of mental illnessrequirements for adequate services and supportability to work in partnership with mental health professionals.


The Twelve Practice Standards are:

1. Rights, Responsibility, Safety and Privacy

2. Consumer and Carer Participation

3. Awareness of Diversity

4. Mental Health Problems & Mental Disorders

5. Promotion and Prevention

6. Early Detection and Intervention

7. Assessment, Treatment, Relapse Prevention and Support

8. Integration and Partnership

9. Service Planning, Development and Management

10. Documentation and Information Systems

11. Evaluation and Research

12. Ethical Practice and Professional Responsibilities