National standards for mental health services 2010

Standard 7. Carers

Page last updated: 2010

The MHS recognises, respects, values and supports the importance of carers to the wellbeing, treatment, and recovery of people with a mental illness.


The MHS has clear policies and service delivery protocols to enable staff to effectively identify carers as soon as possible in all episodes of care, and this is recorded and prominently displayed within the consumer's health record.
The MHS implements and maintains ongoing engagement with carers as partners in the delivery of care as soon as possible in all episodes of care.
In circumstances where a consumer refuses to nominate their carer(s), the MHS reviews this status at regular intervals during the episode of care in accordance with Commonwealth and state/ territory jurisdictional and legislative requirements.
The MHS provides carers with a written statement, together with a verbal explanation of their rights and responsibilities in a way that is understandable to them as soon as possible after engaging with the MHS.
The MHS considers the needs of carers in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons, culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) persons, religious/ spiritual beliefs, gender, sexual orientation, physical and intellectual disability, age profile and socio-economic status.
The MHS considers the special needs of children and aged persons as carers and makes appropriate arrangements for their support.
The MHS has documented policies and procedures for clinical practice in accordance with Commonwealth, state/ territory privacy legislation and guidelines that address the issue of sharing confidential information with carers.
The MHS ensures information regarding identified carers is accurately recorded in the consumer's health record and reviewed on a regular basis.
The MHS provides carers with non-personal information about the consumer’s mental health condition, treatment, ongoing care and if applicable, rehabilitation.
The MHS actively seeks information from carers in relation to the consumer’s condition during assessment, treatment and ongoing care and records that information in the consumer's health record. Top of page
The MHS actively encourages routine identification of carers in the development of relapse prevention plans.
The MHS engages carers in discharge planning involving crisis management and continuing care prior to discharge from all episodes of care.
The MHS provides information about and facilitates access to services that maximise the wellbeing of carers.
The MHS actively seeks participation of carers in the policy development, planning, delivery and evaluation of services to optimise outcomes for consumers.
The MHS provides ongoing training and support to carers who participate in representational and advocacy roles.
The MHS provides training to staff to develop skills and competencies for working with carers.
The MHS has documented policies and procedures for working with carers.