National practice standards for the mental health workforce 2013

Standard 1: Rights, responsibilities, safety and privacy

Page last updated: November 2013

Privacy, dignity and confidentiality are maintained, and safety is actively promoted. Mental health practitioners implement legislation, regulations, standards, codes and policies relevant to their role in a way that supports people affected by mental health problems and/or mental illness, as well as their families and carers.

The mental health practitioner:

  1. Provides care, treatment and support for people and families within the boundaries prescribed by: law; professional, national and local requirements; and codes of ethical practice
  2. Recognises and supports a person’s capacity to exercise self-determination
  3. Applies the principles of state, national and international standards on human rights and responsibilities
  4. Complies with state or territory legislation related to treating mental illness, safety, child protection, privacy and confidentiality
  5. Recognises when mental health legislation may apply and engages assistance of senior mental health staff or other associated professionals in implementing relevant treatment and care
  6. Organises the provision of involuntary treatment and care: only when indicated; in compliance with state/territory legislation; in the least restrictive environment; and for the minimum duration required
  7. Provides information to people, their families, and carers on their rights and on legislation that may impact on their rights
  8. Develops meaningful professional and therapeutic relationships while maintaining safe and professional boundaries
  9. Conducts effective mental state assessments and risk assessments, and develops individual plans that consider people and their environments throughout the care continuum
  10. Prevents, minimises and safely responds to agitation, aggression and other challenging behaviours using de-escalation, harm minimisation and negotiation
  11. Promotes an environment that protects people from financial, sexual, psychological and physical abuse and exploitation while receiving mental health care, and reports incidences of abuse, neglect or violence to appropriate authorities
  12. Assesses the care and mental health needs of the person’s family and, when children or other dependents are involved, ensures appropriate plans have been put in place for their care
  13. Complies with service procedures that relate to service user and staff safety and privacy, taking into account risk as well as considerations such as age, gender, developmental and other sociocultural requirements
  14. Follows local relevant procedures and systems for reporting and responding to critical incidents and incidents of concern, taking into account systemic and practice issues that can be addressed
  15. Follows service procedures in relation to safety, privacy and confidentiality in shared care arrangements and transfer of care
  16. Actively support people who have vulnerability or experiences of trauma through ensuring processes support people with mental illness and other staff by reducing the likelihood of retraumatising actions and processes