Developing Our Workforce

MHCC works to improve services by promoting and developing the skills and capacity of the non government mental health workforce.

MHCC Provides National Leadership for Community Managed Mental Health Sector Workforce Development 

Community Mental Health Australia (CMHA) is an alliance of the eight State/Territory Peak Bodies representing more that 900 community mental health services across Australia. MHCC is the lead peak for sector and workforce development and during 2009/10 represents CMHA on the following national groups/projects:

  • Mental Health Workforce Advisory Committee
  • Mental Health Workforce Strategy/Plan Reference Group 
  • Mental Health NGO Workforce Study
  • Mental Health Peer Support Worker Competency Development Project
  • Community Services Training Package Advisory Group
  • Mental Health Skills Articulation Project 

MHCC advocacy helps to achieve first ever National Mental Health NGO Workforce Study

Health Workforce Australia (previously the National Health Workforce Taskforce, NHWT) - in collaboration with PricewaterhouseCoopers - is nearing completion of a project that aims to better understand the existing non-government mental health workforce and what the future needs of the workforce may be. MHCC thanks all member organisations and their staff who took the time to respond to this survey. Whilst this survey is distinct from the National Mental Health Workforce Strategy and Plan, being developed by the national Mental Health Workforce Advisory Committee in partnership with Siggins Miller, there are strategic linkages. The two projects will be liaising on an ongoing basis to maximise the synergies between the two projects. The final reports for both projects are anticipated for late 2010.

It is acknowledged by jurisdictions that government has limited knowledge of the scope, size and skills of the current mental health workforce in the community sector. The NGO mental health sector is increasing in size and importance, but little is known about the workforce, hampering planning. The valuable contribution that this sector makes should and needs to be better understood. The aim of the project is to design and test a methodology to support mental health workforce planning for the non-government community managed mental health sector, through the provision of improved data and information on workforce supply and trends. The data collected will assist in raising a consistent and professional profile for the community managed mental health sector. The study aims to create a workforce planning tool for future planning and to achieve a minimum dataset for the workforce. Data collected will be de-identified, and will assist the sector with forward planning and ongoing workforce recruitment, retention and development. Further, it will support raising a consistent and professional profile for our often under-valued workforce.

The Study consists of 2 phases:

Survey 1: The Landscape Survey - with a focus on obtaining information from managers/executives of community managed organisations providing support to mental health consumers and carers. This survey commenced in December 2009 closed May 2010.

Survey 2: The Workforce Survey - directed at a sample of individual staff members within organisations captured in the Landscape Survey who provide direct and indirect support to mental health consumers and carers. This second survey commenced May 2010 and closed June 2010.

MHCC Is producing resources to assist organisations to develop their workforce within a recovery framework

Mental Health Recovery Philosophy into Practice: A workforce development guide

MHCC is assisting Community Based Organsiations to attract and retain staff and help individuals in their career development

Much of the work of the workforce development strategy is about making working within the mental health NGO sector more rewarding. A key aim is to raise the sector's profile, addressing issues concerning career pathways, skills recognition and development and industry standards. We do this by:

Our work in workforce development is informed by The Workforce Development Reference Group which provides MHCC with advice and knowledge of the NGO mental health workforce sector's training and workforce development needs.

Our overall strategy in workforce development aims to ensure that:

  • service delivery is characterised by quality, innovation, and evidence based practice;
  • service delivery involves a continuous process of enhancing the workforce to ensure it is capable of delivering organisational objectives into the future; and
  • necessary steps are taken to improve the skills and capacity of the mental health workforce
  • This includes addressing career development, workforce expansion, organisational governance and management.