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What is Mental Health Pathways in Practice?

Mental Health Pathways in Practice (MHPiP):

  • aims to enhance mental health clinical practice and improve consumer health outcomes
  • builds the core capabilities of mental health nurses and allied health staff working in mental health services through knowledge acquisition and workplace activities in clinical practice.

It is an innovative, responsive and informed training pathway because:

  • it is the first state-wide approach to mental health professional development for nursing and allied health staff
  • it sets a state-wide standard for best practice across the nursing and allied health workforce and how to achieve it
  • it is based on the latest evidence and contemporary standards of care
  • there is shared focus on the wellbeing of persons with a lived experience, carers and staff to improve consumer outcomes
  • mental health clinicians, consumers and carers were central to the development of the program.

Who is eligible to access MHPiP?

MHPiP is primarily for nurses and allied health clinicians working in mental health settings.

MHPiP resources are also available to all NSW Health staff as a way of supporting and increasing mental health literacy across the entire health workforce.

How will MHPiP benefit consumers of NSW mental health services?

Nurses and allied health staff will:

  • be better equipped to respond to their mental health needs and adopt a recovery and wellbeing approach (vs illness management)
  • know how to apply the latest evidence and contemporary models of care within their services
  • have a more sophisticated understanding of the needs and recovery journey of people experiencing mental illness and disorders
  • be better placed to work with carers and families to support the recovery of mental health consumers.

Why is MHPiP important?

It provides a new opportunity for mental health staff need to continue to develop their skills and maintain evidence-based practice in line with contemporary care models.

The resources developed will be available to the broader workforce to increase the mental health literacy across all NSW Health staff.

This program aims to support the professional development and capability enhancement of staff both at entry level and those who have worked in mental health for many years.

What prompted the development of MHPiP?

In response to the December 2017 Review of seclusion, restraint and observation of consumers with a mental illness in NSW Health facilities it was recommended that 'NSW Health should develop and implement minimum standards and skill requirements for all staff working in mental health.' (Refer to Recommendation 8).

In 2019, a comparative analysis of existing Transition to Professional Practice Programs identified the need for a standardised evidence-based approach to mental health staff capability development.

Why is the well being of staff a focus?

Vicarious trauma and the management of subjective emotional reactions in response to stress is critical to personal, as well as professional wellbeing.

By encouraging nurses and allied health staff to look after their own wellbeing, they will be better placed to care for others.

Self-care is critical to caring for others, especially in the care of complex illness.

Self-care, self-awareness and self-management are critical to the abilities of clinicians to deliver optimal care to people with lived experience, their carer's and families.

What is the learning/capability development approach of MHPiP?

  • Professional development program: Supports individuals to engage in learning opportunities for their continuous professional development.
  • Capability-based: Focuses on the qualities, abilities and capacity needed by clinicians to meet the continuing changing needs of individuals and service delivery.
  • Integrated work-based learning model: A multifaceted program that focuses on the application of knowledge in practice settings by maximising work-based learning opportunities.
  • Annual review processes support professional development: Supports meaningful professional development for participants that complement existing review processes.
  • Blended learning approach: Uses a variety of learning modes to support engaging delivery of program content. The blended learning pathway will appeal to the various learning styles of participants.

Is the training mandatory? If not, why not?

MHPiP is not mandatory.

MHPiP is about supporting and encouraging a system-wide cultural shift to improve the care provided across mental health services. It does that by providing:

  • core knowledge acquisition
  • opportunities to practice and apply knowledge and practice capability in the workplace
  • establishing a shared vision of what best-practice care looks like for mental health consumers, their carers and families.

Genuine, long-lasting cultural and behavioural change needs to be advocated and nurtured – not mandated.

To help encourage people to engage with MHPiP, each local district has a MHPiP coordinator. The coordinators are working with mental health leaders who will actively support and encourage nurses and allied health staff to engage with this education pathway. The local leadership will consist of:

  • Executive Directors of Nursing and Midwifery
  • Directors of Mental Health Nursing
  • Directors/General Managers of Mental Health
  • Clinical Nurse Consultants, Clinical Nurse Specialists, Nursing Unit Managers Allied Health Leads and managers working in mental health services
  • Clinical Nurse Educator and Nurse Educators.

Do I earn CPD hours?

Nursing professionals may earn CPD points, and should refer to AHPRA for details.

Allied Health professionals may earn CPD points, the number of points awarded will vary according to the profession and the activity itself e.g. points can be accrued either by 'time 'or 'type of activity'. However, the focus on duration i.e. minutes/hours of CPD where 1 hour of CPD = 1 Point is the most approach for allied health in general.

Who were the major stakeholders involved in the design of MHPiP?

  • Nursing & Midwifery Office, Ministry of Health
  • Health and Education Training Institute
  • Local health districts and specialty health networks
  • MHPiP Coordinators

Were people with lived experience involved in the design of MHPiP?

People with lived experiences of mental illness and carer representatives participated in and contributed to the content development and design of the program. Consumers and Carers will continue to participate in all aspects of the program's ongoing development.

Were mental health nurses involved in the design of MHPiP?

All MHPiP Coordinators are mental health nurses and have been consulted across the entire process. They, in turn, consulted with mental health experts and allied health leads in their local health districts.

How can eligible individuals access the training?

NSW Health staff can access training via My Health Learning.

How will MHPiP be implemented across NSW Health?

The program is available for all staff and the learning materials will be available online via My Health Learning.

Staff who enrol will also have access to workbooks that guide you with tasks and activities to help apply the knowledge and skills on the job.

Participants will work alongside MHPiP facilitators to support their learning goals. Facilitators will be identified locally in partnership with managers and MHPiP coordinators.

How will MHPiP be evaluated?

MHPiP is being comprehensively evaluated by an independent organisation, the Nous Group

The evaluation focuses on:

  • participant and group experiences and satisfaction with the program, to assess what works, why it works, and for whom it is working
  • the efficacy of the program in enhancing or developing the knowledge, skills and practice of clinicians working across the breadth of mental health settings and workplaces
  • the capability and confidence of clinicians to continue to apply contemporary and evidence based mental health practice.

The program will be evaluated using both qualitative and quantitative data analysis. Data will be collected through pre/post training surveys at determined intervals, as well as focus groups, interviews and case site visits.

Current as at: Tuesday 29 June 2021
Contact page owner: Nursing and Midwifery