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HealthInfo Canterbury

Community mental health support workers

Community mental health support workers (CMHSW) help people with experience of mental health issues to live well in the community.

Finding a CMHSW

If your GP believes you'll benefit from having a CMHSW and you meet the criteria to get one, they'll refer you to the service. To meet the criteria, you must:

If you have a Specialist Mental Health Service case manager, they can also refer you to the service if they think it's appropriate.

Organisations that provide CMHSWs are:

Qualifications and training

A mental health CMHSW either has or is working towards the New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing level 4. Some also have diplomas.

Personal information

Whenever a health professional needs to arrange for you to see another health professional, they complete a referral. A referral introduces you to the other person and explains why you're being referred.

Your GP or case manager will include relevant information about you with the referral. They'll fax or email the referral, or send it electronically to the CMHSW service coordinator.

A small group of representatives of the organisations that provide community support services will view your referral. They'll do this at their weekly community support services access pathway meeting. This will make sure you're seen by the community services that can best help your recovery.

Only member organisations can go to these meetings. These organisation make sure their staff meet the requirements of the Privacy Act and the Health Information Privacy Code.

The Canterbury DHB is responsible for making sure your information is only shared to benefit your health and wellbeing.

If you don't want your information to be shared in this way, you can choose a provider from the list above. You must also tell your GP or case manager who referred you to the service.

What CMHSWs do

A CMHSW can help you:

They'll work with you to:

Written by Comcare Trust, and Planning and Funding, Canterbury DHB. Adapted by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed December 2020.

See also:

Privacy and your health information

Your health rights

Page reference: 285207

Review key: HIHMI-138165