Course Title: Provide services to people with co-existing mental health and alcohol and other drugs issues

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term2 2020

Course Code: HWSS6089C

Course Title: Provide services to people with co-existing mental health and alcohol and other drugs issues

School: 375T Vocational Design and Social Context

Campus: City Campus

Program: C4364 - Certificate IV in Alcohol and Other Drugs

Course Contact: Chris Walters

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 8268

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Nominal Hours: 90

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites


Course Description

In this unit you will develop the skills and knowledge required to assess capacity to support people with co-existing mental health and alcohol and other drugs issues and to work collaboratively with the person, family and carers in developing a recovery plan.

This unit applies to work with people with co-existing mental health and alcohol and other drugs (AOD) in a range of community services work contexts.

This course is delivered and assessed as a cluster with;

CHCMHS001: Work with people with mental health issues


National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

CHCMHS005 Provide services to people with co-existing mental health and alcohol and other drugs issues


1. Assess capacity to provide support to a person with co-existing mental health and AOD issues


Performance Criteria:

1.1 Recognise and respond to signs indicating that a person may have co-existing mental health and AOD issues

1.2 Identify own service provision and possible agency programs or interventions suitable for a person with dual diagnosis

1.3 Assess the impact and nature of co-existing conditions on the person, including their social, financial and legal status

1.4 Work with the person to understand their readiness, motivation, priorities and goals for recovery in relation to both their mental health and alcohol and other drug issues

1.5 Research or consult with specialist services, as needed, to gather additional specific information about the relevant AOD substances and their interactions or possible impacts on someone with mental health issues 


2. Work collaboratively to provide support services to address co-existing issues


Performance Criteria:

2.1 Build an effective working relationship with the person

2.2 Discuss with the person their existing services and supports, and their perspective on collaboration or coordination across services

2.3 Gather and review information on available service options and approaches with the person

2.4 Support person to make informed decisions about approaches, including resources and services

2.5 Develop and document a plan with the person that reflects choices made

2.6 Work collaboratively with the person to facilitate the implementation of appropriate strategies, services and resources


3. Facilitate links to further care


Performance Criteria:

3.1 Identify issues that are outside the scope of the service and/or the scope of the worker

3.2 Collaboratively identify appropriate service and other support options with the person

3.3 Support positive decision making to assist the person to make informed choices about recovery options

3.4 Work collaboratively with the person to determine referral options, and responsibilities and consents required

3.5 Make referrals in consultation with the person and in line with organisation protocols

3.6 Follow up and evaluate referrals to ensure they have been effective


4. Collaborate with the person to minimise risk


Performance Criteria:

4.1 Work collaboratively with the person to proactively identify potential risks to safety of person, workers and others

4.2 Prevent risks by identifying triggers, strategies to manage risks and contingency options

4.3 Use evidence based de-escalation techniques, conflict resolution and negotiation skills to manage conflict

4.4 Identify emergency situations and seek immediate assistance

4.5 Comply with laws, relevant ethical guidelines and policy requirements that affect duty of care and dignity of risk 


5. Review and report on support provided


Performance Criteria:

5.1 Develop and maintain records of services provided, decisions made and follow up actions in collaboration with the person

5.2 Communicate relevant information to work colleagues and other people working with the person, with the persons consent

5.3 Reflect on own role in providing support and use learning to enhance future practice

5.4 Seek advice, supervision and debriefing from workplace supervisor based on identified needs

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this course you will have demonstrated the skills and knowledge required to demonstrate competency in the above elements.

Details of Learning Activities

This course will be delivered through Remote Learning via Canvas/Collaborate Ultra.

Teaching Schedule

Dual Diagnosis



Week 1

We will be exploring the definition of dual diagnosis in its broadest sense and how to assess clients who are experiencing multiple diagnosis simultaneously. 


We will be; 

  • Getting an overview of this cluster 
  • Exploring the meaning of dual diagnosis 
  • Looking at common comorbidities 
  • Exploring assessment tools for dual diagnosis clients 
  • Introduction to our first case study 


Week 2

We will be exploring the definition of Mental Health in its broadest sense. We will be introduced tool that you can take with you through your entire career to support people with mental health concerns. 


We will be; 

  • Defining Mental Health 
  • Hearing from people with a lived experience of mental illness - privileging lived experience 
  • Exploring the DSM - Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 
  • Learning about different approaches to mental illness 
  • Considering quality of life 


Week 3

We will be learning about Dr. Dan Siegel's Window of Tolerance and how it can assist in working with people with any form of mental illness. 


We will be; 

  • Understanding what it means to be in your window of tolerance 
  • Understanding hyperarousal and hypo arousal 
  • Discussing grounding techniques to bring a person back into their window 
  • Considering the mental health mental illness continuum 
  • Observing our own window of tolerance 

Week 4

We will be learning about most commonly diagnosed mental health conditions. Considering how the window of tolerance can be used to support clients experiencing mental health conditions. 


We will be; 

  • Learning about different Mental Health Diagnosis 
  • Considering the window of tolerance as it relates to various diagnosis 
  • Practicing supportive listening skills to create a safe environment for our colleagues to present in (encouragement, unconditional positive regard, empathy, open body language, support, genuineness, friendliness, normalising nervousness). 

Week 5

We will be getting into the nitty gritty of dual diagnosis. Today the focus is on dual diagnosis considerations for people who use depressants. 


We will be; 

  • Understanding what is meant by depressants 
  • Considering the function of use of depressants 
  • Considering the risks of combining depressants 
  • Considering harm reduction strategies for depressant use 
  • Considering the relationship between substance use and depression 
  • Understanding the interaction between depressant use and prescription medication 

Week 6

We will be taking a deep look at the Victorian Mental Health System.  


We will be: 

  • Considering the necessary characteristics of a good mental health system 
  • Understanding how the Victorian mental health system has evolved 
  • Learning about the Royal Commission into the Victorian Mental Health System and system reform 
  • Understanding key features of the current mental health system 

Week 7

We will be exploring Recovery Orientated Practice and what it means for clients with a Dual Diagnosis. 


We will be: 

  • Defining recovery orientated practice 
  • Hearing stories of recovery from people with a lived experience 
  • Understanding the 6 principles of recovery orientated practice 


Week 8

We will be exploring trauma informed practice and the impact of trauma on mental health. 


We will be: 

  • Defining trauma informed practice 
  • Considering how mental health and AOD treatment can retraumatised clients 
  • Learning about the intersection between mental health, substance use and trauma 
  • Learning about borderline personality disorder 
  • Learning about working with people who have experienced trauma 


Week 9

We will be exploring trauma informed practice and the impact of early childhood trauma on Dual Diagnosis clients.  


We will be: 

  • Learning about ACEs 
  • Assessing our own ACEs 
  • Understanding how trauma impacts a person's window of tolerance 
  • Putting together many of the theories we have learnt so far 
  • Continuing to work with Lisa’s Case Study 
  • Building an effective working relationship with a client who has experienced trauma 
  • Referring to specialist services 
  • Applying the principles of recovery orientated and trauma informed practice 


Week 10

We will be Identifying signs that a person may have co existing mental health and AOD issues. 


We will be: 

  • Undertake Mental Health Assessment 
  • Learning about the MSE 
  • Researching and consulting with specialist services 
  • Develop and document a plan with a client experiencing psychosis 
  • Work with a client to explore their view of their presenting issues and of recovery 
  • Considering how to assess psychosis vs spiritual awakening 


Week 11

We will observing changes in a clients mental health status and handing over to Mental Health Professionals for follow up. 


We will be: 

  • Revisiting the theory of function of substance use 
  • Considering function of substance use in relation to prescription medications 
  • Considering AOD interventions for clients taking psychotropic and other prescription medications 
  • Revisiting AOD Assessment 
  • Considering polypharmacy 
  • Exploring MIMMS 



Week 12


Week 13

We will be considering the impact that AOD work has on AOD workers own mental health. 


We will be: 


  • Defining Vicarious Trauma 
  • Defining Burnout 
  • Defining Compassion Fatigue 
  • Learning about the three S’s Self reflection, Self Care & Supervision 
  • Considering theories as to why people in caring professions experience mental illness 
  • Considering the role that injustice and systemic under resourcing play in the reduced wellbeing of AOD workers 
  • Exploring self care resources 


Week 14

We will be recapping learning in this cluster and working on the final assessment tasks.


Week 15


Week 16




Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources

Overview of Assessment


There are five assessment tasks within this cluster including role plays, case studies, a research project and short answer questions


Assessment Tasks

Assessment task 1: Case study and role play

Assessment task 2: Research project

Assessment task 3: Case study and role play

Assessment task 4: Case study and role play

Assessment task 5: Short answer questions

Assessment Matrix

The assessment matrix is located in canvas at the end of each assessment task.

Other Information

Please refer to the RMIT student page for extensive information about study support, assessment, extensions, appeals and a range of other matters:

Course Overview: Access Course Overview