Mental health practitioner job description in specialist schools

Position description guidance for principals to support recruitment of the Mental Health Practitioner role in specialist schools.

Please note, these roles are fixed-term and differ from Mental Health Practitioners in secondary school positions which are ongoing roles. Both position descriptions can be accessed via the department’s Recruitment Online platform.

Position details

Selection criteria

  1. Demonstrated experience in assessing, conceptualising and analysing wellbeing issues, and providing evidence-based direct counselling or other individualised supports for a range of mental health issues.
  2. Demonstrated experience in planning and implementing evidence-based intervention strategies for clients with complex needs.
  3. Demonstrated ability to input into the development, implementation and evaluation of processes and strategies relating to mental health and wellbeing.
  4. Highly developed communication, networking and interpersonal skills including the ability to liaise effectively with a wide range of people.
  5. Ability to provide leadership and professional learning that informs and influences the work of others involved in the engagement and wellbeing of children and young people.
  6. A clear understanding of legislative requirements regarding the privacy of health information.


The Premier of Victoria issued a media release on 7 August 2020, announcing increased mental health supports for Victorian students. A part of this announcement was the Mental Health Practitioners in Specialist Schools initiative, which provides funding to every specialist school with secondary-aged enrolments to employ a suitably qualified Mental Health Practitioner.

Operating in collaboration with the Department of Education and Training's area-based multi-disciplinary teams, this role will have the following functions:

  • provide direct counselling, early intervention services, or other individualised supports for students and groups identified as at-risk and/or experiencing or demonstrating mild to moderate mental health needs
  • coordinate supports for students with critical needs both within and external to the school, including proactively working with regions and other health professionals to engage further support as required
  • enhance promotion and prevention activities in the school by contributing to whole school health and wellbeing plans, building the capability of teaching staff and school leadership to manage student health and wellbeing, and helping to embed mental health promotion and prevention programs and strategies in the school.

Education support class level 1 range 4

The successful applicant will be an experienced professional who will carry out their duties and responsibilities, relative to their professional discipline, with a high level of autonomy and with minimal reliance on professional supervision. The successful applicant will be responsible for the development and implementation of professional support programs within an educational environment, including guidance to other professional staff.

As an education support class position, this role supports the educational services being provided to students, but will not include duties of teaching as defined in clause 2.6.1 of the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 (Vic).

For more information on the responsibilities of an Education support class level 1 range 4 employees, please visit Victorian Government Schools Agreement 2017 (PDF).


  1. Deliver professional support service/s in a school/s, including direct counselling for students with a range of mental health issues, applying sound theoretical knowledge and practical expertise.
  2. Plan and implement evidence-based intervention strategies for students with complex needs including collaborating with families, other professionals and agencies when appropriate, and managing the associated risks.
  3. Work collaboratively with the school to contribute to policies and operational practices that will guide the work of others, including other school wellbeing staff and teachers.
  4. Demonstrate leadership and provide professional learning to others, such as teachers and other school wellbeing staff, to build the capacity of schools to improve students' learning and developmental outcomes.
  5. Liaise with other department areas (including secondary school nurses and Student Support Services staff) and external service providers where necessary to provide support to students.
  6. Maintain professional competence and continued professional learning, including attending professional development activities throughout the year.
  7. Meet relevant policies and legislative requirements about student health information privacy.

Please note: Continued professional learning is a registration requirement under the National Law, which governs the operations of the National Boards and Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).

Who may apply


Applicants must:

  • hold a Bachelor qualification, specialist or postgraduate qualification where applicable in:
    • Social Work
    • Occupational Therapy
    • Nursing with a mental health specialisation
    • Psychology.
  • hold full registration with the requisite professional body where applicable
  • for Social Work applicants, be eligible for membership with the Australian Association of Social Workers
  • have demonstrated direct counselling experience
  • have a current Working with Children Check.


  • Demonstrated experience working with people with disabilities.
  • For Social Work applicants, hold membership with the Australian Association of Social Workers and an Accredited Social Worker Trade Mark.
  • For Mental Health Nurse applicants, hold a Mental Health Nurse Credential and membership with the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses
  • For Occupational Therapist applicants, hold a Better Access to Mental Health endorsement.
  • For Psychology applicants, specialisation in education and/or developmental psychology.

EEO and OHS commitment

The department values diversity and is committed to workforce diversity and equal opportunity in schools and all education workplaces. The department recognises that the provision of family-friendly, supportive, safe and harassment-free workplaces is essential to high performance and promotes flexible work, diversity and safety across all schools and department workplaces.

Child Safe Standards

Victorian government schools are child safe environments. Our schools actively promote the safety and wellbeing of all students, and all school staff are committed to protecting students from abuse or harm in the school environment, in accordance with their legal obligations including child safe standards. All schools have a Child Safety Code of Conduct is consistent with the department’s exemplar.

Our values

The department’s employees commit to upholding our values: Responsiveness, Integrity, Impartiality, Accountability, Respect, Leadership and Human Rights. Our values complement each school’s own values and underpin the behaviours the community expects of Victorian public sector employees, including those who work in Victorian Government Schools. Find out more information on the department values.

Other information

  • All staff employed by the department and schools have access to a broad range of employment conditions and working arrangements
  • Appointment of successful applicants will be made subject to a satisfactory pre-employment conditions check
  • A probationary period may apply during the first year of employment and induction and support programs provided

Detailed information on all terms and conditions of employment is available on the department's Human Resources website.

Please ensure that your application includes:

  • a resume including relevant experience as well as personal details (name, address and contact numbers, business and home)
  • a section addressing the selection criteria and the requirements for application under the Who May Apply section
  • names and contact numbers (telephone and email if possible) of two referees who can attest to the claims made in your application.

Please note that the selection panel may seek additional referees beyond those you name. Consistent with policy, we shall advise you if we will take this action.

Conditions of employment

  • All staff employed by the department and schools have access to a broad range of employment conditions and working arrangements.
  • Appointment of successful applicants will be made subject to a satisfactory pre-employment conditions check.
  • A probationary period may apply during the first year of employment and induction and support programs provided.

Detailed information on all terms and conditions of employment is available on the department's Human Resources page.

Privacy notification

We are collecting your personal information for processing and considering your employment application. We will use and disclose the information we collect from you only for these purposes. Unsuccessful job applications are retained for six (6) months and then securely destroyed. Your personal information is kept secure and confidential and managed by the Department of Education & Training Information Privacy Policy.

If you have any concerns about how your information is being managed or wish to obtain a copy of the department's Information Privacy Policy please contact Corporate HR Services on 9637 3828.