Unit of competency details

CHCMH411A - Work with people with mental health issues (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by CHCMHS001 - Work with people with mental health issuesThis version was released in CHC Community Services Training Package release 2.0 and meets the requirements of the 2012 Standards for Training Packages. Merged CHCMH301C/CHCMH411A. Significant changes to performance criteria. New evidence requirements for assessment including volume and frequency requirements. 05/Aug/2015

ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 25/Mar/2011

Qualifications that include this unit

CodeSort Table listing Qualifications that include this unit by the Code columnTitleSort Table listing Qualifications that include this unit by the Title columnUsage RecommendationRelease
CHC52212 - Diploma of Community Services CoordinationDiploma of Community Services CoordinationSuperseded
CHC40808 - Certificate IV in Community DevelopmentCertificate IV in Community DevelopmentSuperseded1-2 
CHC50812 - Diploma of Social HousingDiploma of Social HousingSuperseded
CHC40608 - Certificate IV in Leisure and HealthCertificate IV in Leisure and HealthSuperseded1-2 
CHC30708 - Certificate III in Children's ServicesCertificate III in Children's ServicesSuperseded
HLT32407 - Certificate III in Allied Health AssistanceCertificate III in Allied Health AssistanceSuperseded
CHC50612 - Diploma of Community Services WorkDiploma of Community Services WorkSuperseded
CHC41612 - Certificate IV in Child, Youth and Family Intervention (Family Support)Certificate IV in Child, Youth and Family Intervention (Family Support)Superseded
CHC30608 - Certificate III in Active VolunteeringCertificate III in Active VolunteeringSuperseded
CHC52008 - Diploma of Community Services (Case management)Diploma of Community Services (Case management)Superseded1-2 
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SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 061309 Community Health  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 061309 Community Health  07/Oct/2011 
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Modification History

Not Applicable

Unit Descriptor


This unit describes the knowledge, skills and attitudes required by workers in community services and health settings to work in a consumer directed and oriented way with consumers who are living with mental health issues

Application of the Unit


This unit applies to working with consumers who are affected by mental illness in a range of community services work contexts

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Not Applicable


Not Applicable

Employability Skills Information

Employability Skills 

This unit contains Employability Skills

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements define the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

The Performance Criteria specify the level of performance required to demonstrate achievement of the Element. Terms in italics are elaborated in the Range Statement.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Apply knowledge of the mental health sector

1.1 Demonstrate basic knowledge of mental health organisations and services

1.2 Reflect an understanding of different service approaches in mental health  in work

1.3 Apply basic knowledge of common mental health issues and associated signs and symptoms

1.4 Apply basic knowledge of how to respond appropriately to changes in mental health and mental distress and to report appropriately

1.5 Clarify statutory requirements and duty of care responsibilities applying to own work, including role, responsibilities, accountabilities and potential consequences of own actions

2. Establish appropriate working relationships with consumers who are living with mental health issues

2.1 Demonstrate and apply understanding of and commitment to a consumer's right to self define and direct their own recovery

2.2 Use strategies to ensure all contacts with consumers reflect appropriate expression of value systems and consideration of emotional impact of intervention

2.3 Use appropriate communication and relationship building processes to facilitate strong positive relationships

2.4 Discuss with the consumer possibilities and options for responding to their needs and determine and prioritise preferred action

2.5 Respond promptly and supportively to consumers in distress or crisis, respecting the consumer's wishes to the extent possible in the circumstances, and in accordance with organisation policies and procedures

2.6 Work in collaboration with consumer and their support network to routinely ensure that:

  • the consumer's desires, preferences, experiences, knowledge and life skills directly influence the nature and type of services provided
  • the consumer's needs  and goals  are met
  • individual and cultural differences are addressed
  • potential barriers and challenges to achieving positive outcomes are identified and appropriately resolved
  • appropriate levels of consultation are implemented
  • relevant information is collected

2.7 Consistently comply with statutory requirements and duty of care responsibilities

3. Clarify the needs and issues of consumers

3.1 Identify and document consumer's current needs, wants and preferences

3.2 Discuss with the consumer their abilities to address their own needs and aspirations and identify support they require

4. Provide non-clinical services to meet consumer aspirations and needs

4.1 In collaboration with the consumer, consider their experience, knowledge, skills and abilities and ensure these are taken into account in determining strategies to address the impact of their mental distress

4.2 In consultation with the consumer, facilitate the use of appropriate strategies, services and resources

4.3 Negotiate short and long term strategies and implement as appropriate

4.4 Provide services in a manner which supports and encourages independence and consumer self direction

4.5 Follow organisation policy and procedures particularly in relation to consumer and carer rights, best practice principles, record keeping , confidentiality and privacy

4.6 Review progress and effectiveness of strategies with consumer, supervisor and others as appropriate

4.7 Acknowledge limits of own knowledge, abilities and work role and make appropriate referral to other services as required in accordance with organisation policies

4.8 Seek emergency assistance as required

5. Apply self-care strategies

5.1 Maintain a positive work life balance

5.2 Regularly seek and undertake supervision and peer support

5.3 Demonstrate awareness of strategies to address personal physical and emotional needs and apply as appropriate

5.4 Undertake debriefing and seek access to employee assistance programs as required

Required Skills and Knowledge


This describes the essential skills and knowledge and their level required for this unit.

Essential knowledge :

The candidate must be able to demonstrate essential knowledge required to effectively do the task outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit, manage the task and manage contingencies in the context of the identified work role

These include knowledge of:

  • Common mental health sector terminology
  • Facts/myths about mental illness and psychiatric disability
  • Impact of mental illness and/or psychiatric disability on: self esteem, motivation, daily living skills and relationships
  • Impact of stigma and discrimination
  • Principles and practices of duty of care
  • Recovery and recovery oriented practice
  • Relevant policy, regulatory, legislative and legal requirements relating to mental health service provision
  • Rights and responsibilities of workers, consumers and their care network
  • Signs and symptoms of common mental illness

Essential skills :

It is critical that the candidate demonstrate the ability to:

  • Access consumer and carer workers, resources and services
  • Actively listen
  • Communicate effectively
  • Complete documentation
  • Consult
  • Display awareness of self and the impact of self on relationships
  • Effective referral including identification of circumstances in which referral to a health or other professional is appropriate
  • Facilitate consumer directed collaboration
  • Interpret verbal and non verbal communication
  • Maintain confidentiality
  • Mediate and negotiate
  • Network
  • Question
  • Resolve conflict
  • Respond to crisis appropriately
  • Use inclusive and person first language
  • Use consumer's preferred language, terminology, personal meaning and interpretations
  • Write reports

Evidence Guide


The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the Performance Criteria, Required Skills and Knowledge, the Range Statement and the Assessment Guidelines for this Training Package.

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate this unit of competency :

  • The individual being assessed must provide evidence of specified essential knowledge as well as skills
  • This unit is best assessed on the job or in a simulated workplace under the normal range of conditions
  • Consistency in performance should consider the requirements of the particular workplace context

Access and equity considerations :

  • All workers in community services should be aware of access, equity and human rights issues in relation to their own area of work
  • All workers should develop their ability to work in a culturally diverse environment
  • In recognition of particular issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, workers should be aware of cultural, historical and current issues impacting on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • Assessors and trainers must take into account relevant access and equity issues, in particular relating to factors impacting on Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander clients and communities

Context of and specific resources for assessment :

  • This unit can be assessed independently, however holistic assessment practice with other community services units of competency is encouraged
  • Resources required for assessment of this unit include access to a workplace or simulated workplace where assessment may occur

Method of assessment :

  • In cases where the learner does not have the opportunity to cover all relevant aspects in the work environment, the remainder should be assessed through realistic simulations, projects, previous relevant experience or oral questioning on 'What if?' scenarios
  • Assessment of this unit of competence will usually include observation of processes and procedures, oral and/or written questioning on Essential knowledge and skills and consideration of required attitudes
  • Where performance is not directly observed and/or is required to be demonstrated over a 'period of time' and/or in a 'number of locations', any evidence should be authenticated by colleagues, supervisors, clients or other appropriate persons

Range Statement


The Range Statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Add any essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts.

Different service approaches in mental health may include :

  • Medical models
  • Psychosocial rehabilitation models
  • Recovery oriented practice

Needs may include :

  • Cultural
  • Disability
  • Emotional
  • Employment
  • Financial and economic
  • Grief and loss
  • Health
  • Housing
  • Legal
  • Mental health
  • Physical
  • Problematic alcohol and other drugs use
  • Sexuality
  • Social
  • Spiritual
  • Trauma informed care

Goals may be :

  • Flexible, regularly reviewed and changed
  • Formally or informally negotiated
  • Generated in accordance with consumer's wishes and aspirations

Appropriate communication and relationship building processes may include :

  • Collaborative consultation
  • Empathy
  • Engagement
  • Giving hope
  • Listening and responding to the person verbal and nonverbal communication
  • Non judgemental and sensitive approach
  • Rapport building
  • Respect
  • Valuing and responding to the uniqueness of each person
  • Working with the person's own understanding of their experience

Information is shared within the bounds of confidentiality , and wherever possible , with the consent and knowledge of a consumer , with people such as :

  • Care network
  • Case managers
  • Consumers
  • Family members
  • Other services
  • Other staff
  • Supervisor

Services provided take into account :

  • Available resources
  • Benefit to a consumer and their care network
  • Contingency plans

Strategies may include assistance with :

  • Accessing peer support
  • Education about recovery
  • Elimination of discrimination
  • Encouraging a person's sense of hope and personal value
  • Enhancing a person's own sense of agency
  • Enhancing and supporting the care network
  • Identifying and exploring positive and negative risks with consumers
  • Promoting self advocacy and self determination
  • Promoting the right of equal and full citizenship with access to all community resources and opportunities
  • Removal of barriers to participation
  • Supporting people to develop and pursue their recovery goals and aspirations
  • Trauma and trauma informed care
  • Working with consumers with their choices to live, and work in their community of choice

Recordkeeping :

  • Ideally all records should be developed in collaboration with the consumer

Records of service provision may include :

  • Advanced directive
  • Advocacy letters
  • Assessment records
  • Care and service plans
  • Complaints
  • Consent letters
  • Consumer's own records of their recovery
  • Evaluation forms
  • Feedback and satisfaction forms
  • File notes
  • Individual program plans
  • Individual service plans
  • Initial contact forms
  • Personal records
  • Recovery wellness plans
  • Referral letters

Emergency assistance may be sought from :

  • Ambulance
  • Clinical mental health services
  • Cultural consultants
  • Hospitals
  • Other organisations
  • Peer workers
  • Person's care network
  • Police
  • Workers within the organisation

Unit Sector(s)

Not Applicable