Mental health workforce

Over the next 5 years mental health services in Western Australia will be significantly expanded.

Additional skilled and experienced mental health professionals are needed to supplement our dedicated mental health workforce across acute care and community-based services.

WA Health is seeking to recruit qualified professionals into roles such as:

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Mental health nurses

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Mental health nurses specialise in caring for children and adolescents, adults, seniors, or those in the justice or prison systems with mental illness or mental health problems. This care occurs in a variety of settings and in partnership with the patient, their family, and the community.

Mental health nurses can be enrolled nurses (ENs) or registered nurses (RNs) and may also be required to have postgraduate qualifications in mental health.

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Social workers

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Social workers assist individuals, their families and support networks in the context of their physical, social and cultural environments, their past and current experiences, and their cultural and belief systems. Social workers maintain a dual focus on both supporting and improving human wellbeing and identifying and addressing any issues that may impact on wellbeing.

They may undertake roles in casework, counselling, advocacy, community engagement and development and social action to address issues at both the personal and social level.

Social workers must have completed either a bachelor’s degree in social work or relevant undergraduate degree with a master’s degree in social work, or equivalent.

In Australia, social work is a self-regulated profession. The Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) is the professional representative body of social workers in Australia.

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Occupational therapists

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Occupational therapists work with people to improve their health and wellbeing, with a focus on physical and mental health. The primary goal of occupational therapy is to enable people to participate in everyday life.

These professionals work across the spectrum of mental illness, providing services to people with mild, moderate and severe mental health conditions including anxiety disorders, psychosis, trauma-related disorders. Occupational therapists provide strengths-based, behaviourally oriented and goal directed services to improve mental health and wellbeing, adopting a holistic, person-centred approach to support individual function and participation in daily life.

They must have completed a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy, or a relevant undergraduate degree and a graduate entry master’s degree in occupational therapy, or equivalent.

Occupational therapists working in Australian must be registered with the Occupational Therapy Board of Australia. Additional qualifications are not required for occupational therapists to work in the area of mental health.

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Consultant psychiatrists

Psychiatrists provide comprehensive assessments and treatments to address the physical, mental, social and behavioural needs of patients with acute and complex mental health presentations. In WA, consultant psychiatrists are responsible for undertaking duties as specified in the Western Australian Mental Health Act 2014.

Psychiatry is a broad field comprised of subspecialties to address the specific needs of patients throughout different stages of life and issues, including:

  • adult psychiatry
  • addiction psychiatry
  • child and adolescent psychiatry
  • consultation-liaison psychiatry
  • old age psychiatry
  • perinatal and infant psychiatry.

Consultant psychiatrists working in Australia must be registered with the Medical Board of Australia and have completed a fellowship through the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists or equivalent.

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Clinical psychologists and clinical neuropsychologists

Clinical psychologists are specialised psychologists responsible for providing assessment, diagnosis, formulation and psychological treatment of mental health, behavioural and emotional disorders to individuals across the lifespan.

Clinical neuropsychologists assess and treat people with brain disorders that affect memory, learning, attention, language, reading, problem-solving and decision making.

To work as a clinical psychologist or clinical neuropsychologist, psychologists are required to have completed an additional post-graduate degree and period of supervised practice in the relevant area of practice endorsement (i.e. clinical psychology or clinical neuropsychology). Pathways to becoming an endorsed clinical psychologist or clinical neuropsychologists can be found on the Psychology Board of Australia website.

Psychologists working in Australia must be registered with the Psychology Board of Australia.

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More information

Email: mhworkforce@health.wa.gov.au

Last reviewed: 30-09-2021