Mental Health Official Visitor MINISTRY OF HEALTH


Official Visitors visit mental health facilities throughout NSW with current vacancies throughout the state. In your cover letter please identify the locations you are available to work in. Please note you are only required to submit one application for this position. 


Who we are?

The Official Visitors Program is Australia’s most experienced mental health advocacy service and has been operating since 1836. Official Visitors are appointed for a four-year term by the NSW Minister for Mental Health, under the Mental Health Act 2007 (NSW). We are independent from the NSW Health System and have an important role in upholding the rights of mental health patients. 

Under the Mental Health Act 2007 (NSW), an Official Visitor has the following functions:

  • To refer matters raising any significant public mental health issues or patient safety or care or treatment issues to the Principal Official Visitor
  • To act as an advocate for mental health consumers
  • And, to inspect mental health facilities. 


Our culture?

The three pillars that guide us are communication, collaboration and care. Official Visitors are kind, respectful and compassionate, both with mental health staff and consumers, as well as with their visiting team and OVP office staff. 


Who are we looking for?

There are two types of Official Visitors that we appoint under the Mental Health Act 2007 (NSW):

  • Clinical Official Visitors are people who hold current registration in the following professions – Registered Nurse, Medical Doctor, Psychologist, Occupational Therapist, Social Worker or Speech Therapist.
  • Community Official Visitors are people with broad professional and life experiences who bring a non-clinical community perspective.


What you’ll be doing?

Official Visitors attend and inspect every declared public and private mental health facility in NSW every month, either in pairs or in a larger team depending on the size of the facility. During visits we talk with mental health consumers (patients), carers, frontline staff and managers from the Local Health Districts and Networks. We also:

  • Review the care and treatment provided to people with an acute mental illness or disorder 
  • Match the care and systems used against NSW Health policies and legal requirements
  • Ask questions about the services and how they operate 
  • Inspect the physical environment of facilities
  • Act as an advocate for individuals who are receiving mental health care and treatment
  • Develop and submit a written report after each visit in collaboration with your visiting partner

We also operate a Phoneline, Monday to Friday during business hours that takes calls from patients, their carers and NSW Health staff from across NSW. Official Visitors are rostered onto shifts, and are able to complete this work from home. 


Desirable attributes: 

  • Understanding of social justice and human rights 
  • Strong communication skills including writing reports and negotiation skills
  • Ability to work collaboratively in a team and to also work autonomously 
  • Competence using technology including emails, social media and programs such as Word and Excel 
  • Good research and investigative skills 
  • Current driver’s license preferred. 


How to apply to be an Official Visitor?

All applicants are to provide a short cover letter outlining why you are interested in becoming an Official Visitor and a current CV. Applicants are also encouraged to identify what areas of NSW they are willing to work in. 

Due to the high volume of interest, incomplete applications will not be progressed.


All applications who progress to the second round of recruitment will be invited to complete a survey which asks a few more role specific questions.  The third round of recruitment will involve an interview in November. 

It is important to note that as this is a Ministerial appointment and requires significant onboarding, work will not commence until March 2024.


Applications close on Sunday 24th September at 11:59pm. 


If you have any questions or would like more information on the role, please contact Katie Orenstein – Program Manager at [email protected]


Good luck and thank you for your interest in helping to keep the humanity in mental health care and treatment.




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