National practice standards for the mental health workforce 2013

Standard 6: Individual planning

Page last updated: November 2013

To meet the needs, goals and aspirations of people and their families and carers, mental health practitioners facilitate access to and plan quality, evidence-based, values-based health and social care interventions.

The mental health practitioner:

  1. Clearly explains the right to confidentiality and related limitations and constraints, as well as the proposed structure of the interview, assessment or individual planning session, and flexibly negotiates aspects of this when possible (for example, who will be in the room, who wishes to be seen first)
  2. Evaluates the person and family's readiness to engage with services, including real or perceived barriers to accessing services
  3. Collaborates with the person, as appropriate to their developmental level and capabilities, and family or carers and other service providers to develop an individual care plan that includes clear identification of the problem, actions and timeframes
  4. Attends to the person’s advance statement or other document that states their preference regarding treatment and care, especially during periods when their competency is compromised
  5. Appropriately identifies and uses assessment tools including age-specific, discipline-specific and culturally relevant assessments, commensurate with experience
  6. Takes into consideration confidentiality and other legal and ethical concerns, for example, child protection, where appropriate when providing the person and family or carers or other service providers with a copy of the care plan
  7. Conducts and documents a comprehensive mental health assessment including a mental state examination
  8. Conducts and documents a comprehensive, trauma-informed assessment that allows differentiation of mental health conditions from normal ageing changes, cognitive impairment, substance use or physical illness
  9. Conducts or facilitates a relevant and timely physical assessment and examination, and demonstrates an understanding of the impact on care planning, including on possible shared care arrangements
  10. Completes and records a multidimensional assessment of the person and their family or carers, including the following domains:
    • biological
    • social
    • psychological
    • cultural
    • spiritual
  11. Identifies gaps in assessment information and its potential impact on formulation, completing information gathering where possible
  12. Applies a knowledge of developmental tasks and life stages when conducting assessments, including life stage transitions such as changes relating to school or work, housing, life partners and bereavement Top of page
  13. Assesses for triggers, including age-related triggers, for suicidality and risk of harm to self and others, for example, relationship breakdown, school stressors and bereavement
  14. Identifies both risk and protective factors within the person's family and extended environment
  15. Sensitively explores issues related to drug and alcohol use (including prescription medications), exposure to trauma, grief/loss, violence, sexuality, sexual health, sexual identity, gender identity and intimate relationships
  16. Assesses empathy, attunement and fit by observing verbal and non-verbal interactions within the presenting family or care unit
  17. Recognises bias that may exist in information presented by the person's family, carers and partner agencies when assessing and developing a formulation
  18. Reflects to the person that their story is valuable and has been heard, while taking into account the information and perspectives provided by others, which may or may not be contradictory to the person's perspective
  19. Actively seeks and incorporates preferences and expertise in providing mental health care
  20. Where appropriate, independently or with assistance develops and articulates a comprehensive case formulation and identifies and applies relevant ICD/DSM classifications
  21. Identifies the possible impacts of a family member's or caregiver's disability, mental health or drug and alcohol problems on the person and other family members
  22. Demonstrates an understanding of the effects of hospitalisation (for example, geographical distance, transport issues, parenting, retraumatisation) on the person and family by considering this in care planning