Mental health nurses work alongside people with different types of mental illnesses or disorders, and their carers, to overcome their symptoms and continue their personal recovery.
ServiceMental health nurses are highly specialised and their work is fundamental to the success of NSW's mental health system.
Your strength as a mental health nurse is your personality and ability to communicate. Your empathy, warmth and care helps consumers and their families deal with the complex nature of mental illness and disorder.
As a mental health nurse you will interact with a diverse group of people experiencing a range of mental illness and disorders including anxiety, depression, psychosis and bi-polar disorder.
Mental health nursing offers the chance to specialise in diverse areas such as:Accountability
  • child and adolescent mental health
  • older persons' mental health
  • rehabilitation and recovery
  • assertive community services
  • drugs and alcohol
  • the justice system


Mental health nurses work within a team that may include psychiatrists, social workers, psychologists and GPs.


Outside of a hospital setting, you can work in:

  • local health centres
  • small residential units
  • the justice system
  • the community

Nurses can join the mental health workforce as new graduates or registered and enrolled nurses.


Mental Health scholarships 

Scholarships are available for Mental Health nurses at all stages of their careers.

Postgraduate scholarships are offered for graduate certificate, graduate diploma or masters programs.

Innovation scholarships are given to innovative nurse-led projects which improve the practice of mental health nursing and clinical care for mental health consumers.


NSW Health - mental health policies


Continuing professional development for nurses

Continuing professional development resources for nurses wanting to uTeamworkpdate their mental health skills.

The NSW Mental Health Nursing Strategy

The NSW Mental Health Nursing Strategy supports mental health nursing practice and the mental health nursing workforce. It outlines 5 priority areas and supports quality mental health nursing care delivered in partnership with consumers, families and carers. The strategy was a collaboration between the NSW Health Nursing and Midwifery Office, Local Health Districts and Specialty Networks.

Mental Health Nursing Advisory Group

The Mental Health Nursing Advisory Group is chaired by the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer. This peak mental health nursing group, the Mental Health Principal Adviser and representatives from each Local Health District/Specialty Network provide advice on mental health nursing workforce, policy and practice development strategies.

Mental Health Pathways in Practice (MHPiP) 

 Mental Health Pathways in Practice (MHPiP) is a professional development pathway for clinicians working in mental health facilities.
The program aims to:
  • support all mental health nurses with their access to current knowledge and skills
  • develop the capabilities of nurses and allied health staff within mental health services
  • strengthen the mental health literacy of clinicians working in all clinical areas across NSW Health services.

The program content is designed for adult learners and is suitable for novices through to experienced mental health staff. The program is delivered in a variety of educational modalities, including online, face to face and point of care.

The program is a collaborative development between the Nursing and Midwifery Office, the Health Education and Training Institute (HETI) and all Local Health Districts and Specialty Networks (LHD/SNs). It is aligned to:

  • the Mental Health Core Capabilities
  • the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses Standards of Practice
  • the National Practice Standards for the mental health workforce
  • Professional Standards of Practice

The MHPiP will continue to evolve through the existing Performance Development Review process.


Beaver Hudson, A/Principal Advisor of Mental Health Nursing, Nursing and Midwifery Office

As the Principal Advisor of Mental Health Nursing, Beaver:

  • provides strategic advice on mental health nursing practice relating to policy, workforce development and professional development
  • leads, coordinates and develops public policy and strategic direction relating to the mental health nursing workforce and mental health nursing practice
  • leads and supports teams of NSW Health staff and key external stakeholders in the design, development and implementation of statewide projects in the areas of mental health nursing
  • provides expert guidance and clinical advice to the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer (CNMO), the Ministry and Government of issues relating to mental health nursing practice and enhancing the experience of care to consumers of mental health services, their carers and families.
For additional information, contact Beaver via email at or call the Nursing and Midwifery Office on telephone (02) 9391 9528.
Current as at: Thursday 4 March 2021
Contact page owner: Nursing and Midwifery