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Mental health social workers

The Federal Government recognises the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) as an assessing authority of specialist mental health expertise. AASW members may lodge an application with AASW for an assessment.

If this assessment is successful, and Accredited Mental Health Social Worker (AMHSW) status is granted, a social worker is then eligible to lodge an application with Medicare Australia for a Medicare Provider Number, to become an MBS (Better Access) provider.

Accredited Mental Health Social Workers have a breadth of experience in assessing and treating people who have mental health disorders, for example people with:

  • Depression and other mood disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Psychosis
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Relationship problems
  • Life crises
  • Adjustment issues
  • Trauma
  • Family conflicts

They help individuals to resolve presenting psychological problems, the associated social and other environmental problems, and improve their quality of life. This may involve family as well as individual counselling, and group therapy. Social workers recognise the broader implications of an individual having a mental illness and the impact on friends, family, work and education.

Like other allied health professionals, such as psychologists, Accredited Mental Health Social Workers use a range of interventions in helping people with mental health disorders, including the following focussed psychological strategies:

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy
  • Behavioural interventions
  • Cognitive interventions
  • Relaxation strategies
  • Skills training
  • Problem solving
  • Anger management
  • Social skills
  • Stress management
  • Parenting skills
  • Interpersonal therapy
  • Psycho-education (including Motivational Interviewing)
  • Narrative therapy


More information

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers