Course Title: Work with people with mental health issues

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term2 2020

Course Code: OHTH5925C

Course Title: Work with people with mental health 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: 80

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 establish relationships, clarify needs, and then work collaboratively with people who are living with mental health issues.

This unit applies to support workers in contexts outside the mental health sector, but who come into contact with people with mental health issues. The services and support provided are not mental health specific.

This course is delivered and assessed as a cluster with;

CHCMHS005: Provide services to people with co-existing mental health and AOD issues


National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

CHCMHS001 Work with people with mental health issues


1. Establish respectful relationships with people with mental health issues

Performance Criteria:

1.1 Communicate in a way that develops and maintains respect, hope, trust and self-direction

1.2 Work in a way that reflects and prioritises the person’s right to self define and direct their own recovery

1.3 Recognise and respect the person’s social, cultural and spiritual differences

1.4 Support the person to understand and exercise their rights

1.5 Maintain confidentiality and privacy of the person within organisation policy and protocols


2. Determine the needs of people with mental health issues

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Gather and interpret information about the person’s needs from the person and other agreed sources

2.2 Identify and discuss with the person services and strategies that support empowerment and recovery

2.3 Support the person to express their own identity and preferences and avoid imposing own values and attitudes

2.4 Identify duty of care and dignity of risk considerations in collaboration with the person


3. Work with people with mental health issues to meet aspirations and needs

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Provide support that facilitates progress towards the person’s goals in collaboration with the person and their care network

3.2 Work in ways that uphold the person’s rights

3.3 Adapt service delivery within organisation policies and procedures to meet the person’s specific needs and requirements

3.4 Document interactions and services according to organisation policy and procedures

3.5 Respond promptly and supportively to people experiencing distress or crisis

3.6 Work within the limits of own knowledge, abilities and work role and make referrals to other services as indicated by the person’s needs

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this course you will have developed 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

This cluster involves five assessment tasks including role plays, case studies, short answer questions and a research project.

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