What is an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker?


What is an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker (AMHSW)?

Accredited Mental Health Social Workers (AMHSWs) distinguish themselves through their exceptional training and expertise and a rigorous educational background that includes a bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work, complemented by a minimum of 2 years of supervised clinical experience in specialised mental health roles, culminating in a comprehensive accreditation process. 

Much like Psychologists, Accredited Mental Health Social Workers are well-equipped to handle the assessment and treatment of psychological disorders. They often adopt a holistic approach, drawing upon their extensive experience to aid clients in enhancing their emotional wellbeing by addressing psychological factors while identifying and tackling external stressors and issues affecting one’s overall wellbeing, encompassing areas such as social connections, family dynamics, and broader social systems.

Accredited Mental Health Social Workers have been assessed on behalf of the Commonwealth Government by the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) as having specialist training and expertise in mental health. Only after successful completion of this accreditation process, can a social worker be known as an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker (AMHSW) and be able to register with Medicare for rebates through a Mental Health Treatment Plan provided by a GP. They may also provide therapy or support through NDIS funding, TAC, VOCAT and other third-party providers.

Accredited Mental Health Social Workers work in a number of areas. In private practice, they are trained to provide counselling therapy and support to individuals, families, and groups with mental health issues or mental illness.  The governing body for Social Workers is Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW), which is recognised by the Federal Government to provide mental health services and psychological therapy. 

What can Accredited Mental Health Social Workers do?

There are different qualifications and accreditations available to become a mental health professional who provides support and clinical interventions for individuals experiencing emotional, relational and/or mental health challenges and mental illness. One of those is Accredited Mental Health Social workers. 

Based on their training and skills, they can offer a wide range of services, including individual, couples, and family therapy, as well as group therapy. 

Social workers recognise the broader implications of an individual having a mental illness and the impact on friends, family, work and education. Accredited Mental Health Social Workers have a breadth of experience in assessing, treating and working effectively with people experiencing.

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

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 focused psychological strategies:

  • Psycho-education
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
  • Behavioural interventions
  • Behavioural modification 
  • Cognitive interventions
  • Relaxation strategies
  • Skills training
  • Problem-solving
  • Anger management
  • EMDR Therapy
  • Social skills training
  • Stress management
  • Parenting skills
  • Interpersonal therapy
  • Narrative therapy
  • Exposure techniques 


What qualifications do Accredited Mental Health Social Workers hold?

Like other health professionals, Social Workers are tertiary qualified. Professional social work education is undertaken either as a four-year undergraduate or postgraduate degree and includes supervised clinical practice. All social work qualifying courses have basic mental health content as a core curriculum requirement.

Many social workers specialising in mental health practice have additional relevant postgraduate qualifications with specialist clinical training in addition to their professional development requirements. 

When looking for a counsellor, it is important that you find a practitioner who is experienced and able to meet your needs, whether it is a Psychologist, Accredited Mental Health Social Worker, Family Therapist or Registered Counsellor. Please do not hesitate to reach out to our admin team to discuss therapeutic suitability with any of the practitioners in the team.   

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