Objective: To introduce, for College Fellows, Associates and Trainees and other readers of Australasian Psychiatry, the Australian and New Zealand Clinical Practice Guidelines for Specialist Adult Mental Health Care.
Conclusions: For clinical practice guidelines to be applied appropriately and with confidence in practice, their development process, quality characteristics and limitations must be transparent to health systems, guideline users and consumers. Moreover, their status as evidence-based guidelines or consensus guidelines, or mixed-status guidelines, must be made explicit. This introduction to the Australian and New Zealand Clinical Practice Guidelines for Specialist Adult Mental Health Care is designed to assist you in implementing the guidelines in your practice. These are guidelines to assist practice. They are not a set of prescriptions about what to do. The process for developing the six guidelines is summarized. It involved over 70 individuals directly, who worked over a 2-year period in six independent guideline development teams to synthesize the research findings and to consult on draft recommendations. The teams included consumer and carer writing panels for most of the consumer guidelines. The series includes titles on schizophrenia; bipolar disorder; depression; panic and agoraphobia; anorexia nervosa; and deliberate self-harm. Full versions of the guidelines are to be published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. Consumer versions are published elsewhere. Extended versions and background material is available on the RANZCP website.