Working with students with a mental illness

Occasionally you may come across a student who has an existing mental health diagnosis, or who becomes significantly distressed during the clinical placement.  There are guidelines for student placements for students with a mental illness and prevention of mental illness within a workplace readily available on the Mental Health First Aid website.

There may also be reporting requirements if the student's capacity to practice is in question.  It is important that if you feel a student’s mental health is at risk, or the client’s care is at risk as a result of the student’s emotional wellbeing, contacting the university placement coordinators as early as possible is vital for the correct management pathway to occur.  Universities cannot generally disclose student issues, but may already be aware of a particular student’s specific needs and be able to respond accordingly.  For relevant professions, AHPRA has completed guidelines for mandatory reporting requirements.  On the AHPRA website, it is stated that ‘The National Law requires practitioners to advise AHPRA or a National Board of ‘notifiable conduct’ by another practitioner or, in the case of a student who is undertaking clinical training, an impairment that may place the public at substantial risk of harm’ (AHPRA, 2013).  The respective university placement coordinator will be able to guide you through the process or alternatively you can contact AHPRA directly.




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