School operations

Mental Health Practitioners initiative

Mental health practitioner scope of practice

Mental health practitioners (MHPs) report to the school principal (or their delegate) and work flexibly within the school’s existing wellbeing team across the 3 tiers of support. The MHP role includes:

  • enhancing mental health promotion and prevention activities in the school by:
    • embedding mental health and wellbeing strategies and programs across the school
    • building the capability of teaching and school leadership staff to manage student health and wellbeing
    • contributing to whole school health and wellbeing plans
  • providing early intervention supports for students with mild to moderate mental health needs, including counselling support for individual students and/or small groups
  • coordinating supports for students with complex needs by proactively working with regional staff and other health professionals where required.

It is important for schools to understand and uphold the boundaries of the MHP role, as schools are not clinical environments and do not have the same clinical governance arrangements as other settings (for example, hospitals).

Certain activities are classified out of scope for MHPs. These are:

  • completing funding applications, such as Program for Students with Disability (PSD) and/or Disability Inclusion Profile assessments and reports
  • specialised/tertiary level counselling to students with complex presentations (for example, complex trauma, treatment of eating disorders, psychosis treatment)
  • direct counselling support for school staff (school staff can access the Employee Assistance Program (PDF)External Link if required) or parents/carers
  • discipline-specific functions that fall outside of the MHP role (for example, mobility assessments by occupational therapists)
  • leading teams of staff (for example, wellbeing coordinators)
  • undertaking prevention/promotion activities or providing direct individual or group therapy to primary school students.

Records management

MHPs must comply with the department’s Records Management policy, and therefore must not use the following platforms to store personal or sensitive student information:

  • unsecured web-based platforms such as Google Apps, Office 365, OneDrive or Microsoft Teams
  • other school management software where other staff can access sensitive information (for example, Compass, Sentral, Xuno) even if using a restricted file format
  • collaborative platforms such as WebEx
  • shared drives that are accessible by students or folders that are accessible by other school staff personal devices.

If using an appropriate digital system, the system must have appropriate access controls. Schools must ensure the system maintains security patches/update and backups.

If a school is implementing their own tool for health and wellbeing case management a Privacy Impact AssessmentExternal Link is required. Refer to Privacy and Information Sharing.

Includes information on scope of practice and records management

Reviewed 07 March 2024

Was this page helpful?