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Mental Health Outcomes and Assessment Tools (MH-OAT)

The Mental Health Outcomes and Assessment Tools (MH-OAT) is a state-wide initiative that aims to improve the quality and outcomes of mental health care in NSW.

The initiative consists of two major components:

  • standardised clinical documentation
  • standardised outcome measures

The values guiding the development and implementation of the initiative are consistent with those stated in the Charter for Mental Health Care in NSW 'to improve the mental health of consumers'.

The aim of the initiative is to enhance the quality of clinical information available to inform mental health care by:

  • introducing uniform clinical information collection protocols
  • implementing standard clinical documentation (clinical modules) designed to support the recording and retrieval of information at different points in the cycle of mental health care
  • implementing the routine collection of outcomes and casemix measures.

As a result of the initiative, clinicians have a standard way of recording the way they work with consumers and carers. This will help mental health services work more efficiently and effectively and ensure NSW meets the National Standards of Mental Health Care. The availability of standardised clinical information in medical records facilitates communication within and between mental health services and also enables the use of such information for service development, improvement and evaluation activities.

The standardised clinical documentation is a NSW Health initiative designed to support the recording, retrieval and sharing of clinical information at different points in the cycle of mental health care (triage, assessment, care planning, review and transfer/discharge). The use of the modules is mandated across the range of public mental health settings.

The Standardised Outcome Measures are a nationally mandated initiative under the Second National Mental Health Plan and are designed to support the assessment, monitoring and review of mental health care.

What do the standardised clinical modules do?

The modules aim to ensure that the information you share with your mental health worker/s is documented clearly, comprehensively and accurately. By doing this, we hope that we can work with you to better plan your care or the care of your relative or friend.

What can the initiative mean to you?

As a result of MH-OAT, clinicians have a standard way of recording the way they work with you and your carer. The initiative also provides clinicians with tools that will help monitor and evaluate your mental health care and help them see how your mental health status has changed as a result of treatment and contact with mental health services.

Having access to standardised clinical information facilitates communication within and between mental health services and also enables the use of such information for service development, improvement and evaluation activities. This helps mental health services work more efficiently and effectively and ensure NSW meets the national standards of Mental Health Care.

What is the K-10?

As part of the MH-OAT initiative you will be offered the opportunity to complete a questionnaire on how you have been feeling recently. This questionnaire is called the Kessler-10 or K-10.

The questionnaire is made up of 10-14 questions that provide information on the way you have been feeling recently. It should only take about 15 minutes to complete. While you are not obliged to fill it out, the answers to these questions will provide staff with important information so that you can work with your mental health worker to better plan your care.

Your mental health worker/clinician may ask you to complete the K10 again during your care to help check on your progress.

You can complete the K10 on your own or with the help of your clinician or other staff if you need assistance.

If you choose not to complete the questionnaire, it will in no way affect the treatment you receive.

Who will get this information?

When you answer the questions, the information becomes part of your medical record and will be treated with the same level of confidentiality.

What if I have difficulty reading English?

If you have any difficulties with reading, your clinician or other mental health staff can assist you to complete the measure. The Kessler-10 is also available in a number of languages other than English including Vietnamese, Chinese, Arabic, Italian and German. It is important that you let your clinician know your preferred language.

Where can I get information?

If you have any questions, concerns or would like to get more information on the K10 talk to your mental health clinician or your local Mental Health Consumer Coordinator. Further information on the K10 is also available from: AMHOCN - Australian Mental Health Outcomes and Classification Network​​

Page Updated: Tuesday 17 February 2015
Contact page owner: Mental Health Branch