• CHCMH411A - Work with people with mental health issues

Work with people with mental health issues

This unit describes the knowledge, skills and attitudes required by workers in community services and health settings to work in a consumer directed and oriented way with consumers who are living with mental health issues


This unit applies to working with consumers who are affected by mental illness in a range of community services work contexts


Not Applicable

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Apply knowledge of the mental health sector

1.1 Demonstrate basic knowledge of mental health organisations and services

1.2 Reflect an understanding of different service approaches in mental health in work

1.3 Apply basic knowledge of common mental health issues and associated signs and symptoms

1.4 Apply basic knowledge of how to respond appropriately to changes in mental health and mental distress and to report appropriately

1.5 Clarify statutory requirements and duty of care responsibilities applying to own work, including role, responsibilities, accountabilities and potential consequences of own actions

2. Establish appropriate working relationships with consumers who are living with mental health issues

2.1 Demonstrate and apply understanding of and commitment to a consumer's right to self define and direct their own recovery

2.2 Use strategies to ensure all contacts with consumers reflect appropriate expression of value systems and consideration of emotional impact of intervention

2.3 Use appropriate communication and relationship building processes to facilitate strong positive relationships

2.4 Discuss with the consumer possibilities and options for responding to their needs and determine and prioritise preferred action

2.5 Respond promptly and supportively to consumers in distress or crisis, respecting the consumer's wishes to the extent possible in the circumstances, and in accordance with organisation policies and procedures

2.6 Work in collaboration with consumer and their support network to routinely ensure that:

the consumer's desires, preferences, experiences, knowledge and life skills directly influence the nature and type of services provided

the consumer's needs and goals are met

individual and cultural differences are addressed

potential barriers and challenges to achieving positive outcomes are identified and appropriately resolved

appropriate levels of consultation are implemented

relevant information is collected

2.7 Consistently comply with statutory requirements and duty of care responsibilities

3. Clarify the needs and issues of consumers

3.1 Identify and document consumer's current needs, wants and preferences

3.2 Discuss with the consumer their abilities to address their own needs and aspirations and identify support they require

4. Provide non-clinical services to meet consumer aspirations and needs

4.1 In collaboration with the consumer, consider their experience, knowledge, skills and abilities and ensure these are taken into account in determining strategies to address the impact of their mental distress

4.2 In consultation with the consumer, facilitate the use of appropriate strategies, services and resources

4.3 Negotiate short and long term strategies and implement as appropriate

4.4 Provide services in a manner which supports and encourages independence and consumer self direction

4.5 Follow organisation policy and procedures particularly in relation to consumer and carer rights, best practice principles, record keeping, confidentiality and privacy

4.6 Review progress and effectiveness of strategies with consumer, supervisor and others as appropriate

4.7 Acknowledge limits of own knowledge, abilities and work role and make appropriate referral to other services as required in accordance with organisation policies

4.8 Seek emergency assistance as required

5. Apply self-care strategies

5.1 Maintain a positive work life balance

5.2 Regularly seek and undertake supervision and peer support

5.3 Demonstrate awareness of strategies to address personal physical and emotional needs and apply as appropriate

5.4 Undertake debriefing and seek access to employee assistance programs as required

Required Skills

This describes the essential skills and knowledge and their level required for this unit.

Essential knowledge:

The candidate must be able to demonstrate essential knowledge required to effectively do the task outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit, manage the task and manage contingencies in the context of the identified work role

These include knowledge of:

Common mental health sector terminology

Facts/myths about mental illness and psychiatric disability

Impact of mental illness and/or psychiatric disability on: self esteem, motivation, daily living skills and relationships

Impact of stigma and discrimination

Principles and practices of duty of care

Recovery and recovery oriented practice

Relevant policy, regulatory, legislative and legal requirements relating to mental health service provision

Rights and responsibilities of workers, consumers and their care network

Signs and symptoms of common mental illness

Essential skills:

It is critical that the candidate demonstrate the ability to:

Access consumer and carer workers, resources and services

Actively listen

Communicate effectively

Complete documentation


Display awareness of self and the impact of self on relationships

Effective referral including identification of circumstances in which referral to a health or other professional is appropriate

Facilitate consumer directed collaboration

Interpret verbal and non verbal communication

Maintain confidentiality

Mediate and negotiate



Resolve conflict

Respond to crisis appropriately

Use inclusive and person first language

Use consumer's preferred language, terminology, personal meaning and interpretations

Write reports

Evidence Required

The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the Performance Criteria, Required Skills and Knowledge, the Range Statement and the Assessment Guidelines for this Training Package.

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate this unit of competency:

The individual being assessed must provide evidence of specified essential knowledge as well as skills

This unit is best assessed on the job or in a simulated workplace under the normal range of conditions

Consistency in performance should consider the requirements of the particular workplace context

Access and equity considerations:

All workers in community services should be aware of access, equity and human rights issues in relation to their own area of work

All workers should develop their ability to work in a culturally diverse environment

In recognition of particular issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, workers should be aware of cultural, historical and current issues impacting on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Assessors and trainers must take into account relevant access and equity issues, in particular relating to factors impacting on Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander clients and communities

Context of and specific resources for assessment:

This unit can be assessed independently, however holistic assessment practice with other community services units of competency is encouraged

Resources required for assessment of this unit include access to a workplace or simulated workplace where assessment may occur

Method of assessment:

In cases where the learner does not have the opportunity to cover all relevant aspects in the work environment, the remainder should be assessed through realistic simulations, projects, previous relevant experience or oral questioning on 'What if?' scenarios

Assessment of this unit of competence will usually include observation of processes and procedures, oral and/or written questioning on Essential knowledge and skills and consideration of required attitudes

Where performance is not directly observed and/or is required to be demonstrated over a 'period of time' and/or in a 'number of locations', any evidence should be authenticated by colleagues, supervisors, clients or other appropriate persons

Range Statement

The Range Statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Add any essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts.

Different service approaches in mental health may include:

Medical models

Psychosocial rehabilitation models

Recovery oriented practice

Needs may include:





Financial and economic

Grief and loss




Mental health


Problematic alcohol and other drugs use




Trauma informed care

Goals may be:

Flexible, regularly reviewed and changed

Formally or informally negotiated

Generated in accordance with consumer's wishes and aspirations

Appropriate communication and relationship building processes may include:

Collaborative consultation



Giving hope

Listening and responding to the person verbal and nonverbal communication

Non judgemental and sensitive approach

Rapport building


Valuing and responding to the uniqueness of each person

Working with the person's own understanding of their experience

Information is shared within the bounds of confidentiality, and wherever possible, with the consent and knowledge of a consumer, with people such as:

Care network

Case managers


Family members

Other services

Other staff


Services provided take into account:

Available resources

Benefit to a consumer and their care network

Contingency plans

Strategies may include assistance with:

Accessing peer support

Education about recovery

Elimination of discrimination

Encouraging a person's sense of hope and personal value

Enhancing a person's own sense of agency

Enhancing and supporting the care network

Identifying and exploring positive and negative risks with consumers

Promoting self advocacy and self determination

Promoting the right of equal and full citizenship with access to all community resources and opportunities

Removal of barriers to participation

Supporting people to develop and pursue their recovery goals and aspirations

Trauma and trauma informed care

Working with consumers with their choices to live, and work in their community of choice


Ideally all records should be developed in collaboration with the consumer

Records of service provision may include:

Advanced directive

Advocacy letters

Assessment records

Care and service plans


Consent letters

Consumer's own records of their recovery

Evaluation forms

Feedback and satisfaction forms

File notes

Individual program plans

Individual service plans

Initial contact forms

Personal records

Recovery wellness plans

Referral letters

Emergency assistance may be sought from:


Clinical mental health services

Cultural consultants


Other organisations

Peer workers

Person's care network


Workers within the organisation


Not Applicable

Employability Skills

This unit contains Employability Skills

Licensing Information

Not Applicable