Mental Health Nurse in Practice, Referral and Intake Process (MHNIP)


Referrals are accepted from General practitioners (GPs) and psychiatrists who determine patient eligibility under the MHNIP program. The MHNIP service referal and intake criteria requires the following:

  • The patient’s disorder is significantly impacting their social, personal and work life, the patient has been to hospital at least once for treatment of their mental disorder, or they are at risk of needing hospitalisation in the future if appropriate treatment and care is not provided
  • The patient is expected to need ongoing treatment and management of their mental disorder over the next 2 years
  • The GP or psychiatrist, employed to treat the patient by the organisation participating in the MHNIP, will be the main person responsible for the patient’s clinical mental health care, and
  • The patient has given permission to receive treatment from a mental health nurse.


Key points

Patients are managed according to formal protocols that require the mental health nurse to collaborate with the referring GP in the development and implementation of a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan, or with a psychaitrist on the development of an equivalent plan.

These plans specifically reference the roles and responsibilities of both the nurse and the treating GP or Psychiatrist.

Treatment is provided according to the MH plan and the relevant clinical guidelines for the treatment of that disorder.

A GP or psychiatrist is required to regularly review the plan together with the mental health nurse. The review includes, where appropriate, input from a clinical psychologist, registered psychologist or other allied health professional.

Patients will be discharged from the MHNIP service once their mental disorder no longer causes significant disablement to their social, personal and occupational functioning.

If a client doesn't meet the eligibility requirements of the service, the Mental Health Nurse will discuss additional referral options with the referring GP for alternative supports.