Certificate in Mental Health

Understanding mental health helps anyone working in personnel management, counselling, emergency services and health services. This course provides a foundation to enhance your career prospects.

Course Code: VPS028
Fee Code: CT
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 600 hours
Qualification Certificate
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Learn about Mental Health

Understand what is happening when life goes out of focus.


People are today more aware than ever of mental health. Some need a heightened understanding of mental health because they are dealing with mental health issues in either their work environment, or perhaps in their private life.
  • Perhaps you need to learn more because you have a relative or friend who has mental health issues
  • Perhaps you are the carer for someone with mental health problems
  • People who work in health and wellbeing service industries may be dealing with people who have these issues (perhaps on a daily basis, perhaps only occasionally).
  • Psychologists, counsellors, life coaches, fitness instructors, teachers, social workers, youth workers, prison officers, and other professionals may need to deepen their understanding of mental health in order to better deal with difficult positions that confront them at work.
When you understand psychological conditions and associated abnormal behaviours, you then have a foundation for dealing with those issues more appropriately.


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Certificate in Mental Health.
 Child and Adolescent Mental Health BPS214
 Developmental, Learning and Behavioural Disorders in Children and Adolescents BPS215
 Managing Mental Health in Adults BPS216
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 3 of the following 14 modules.
 Anger Management BPS111
 Counselling Skills I BPS109
 Counselling Skills II BPS110
 Stress Management VPS100
 Aged Care and Counselling BPS212
 Anxiety Management BPS224
 Counselling Techniques BPS206
 Developmental Psychology BPS210
 Disability Support BPS226
 Ecotherapy Practice BPS220
 Abnormal Psychology BPS307
 Criminal Psychology BPS309
 Crisis Counselling BPS304
 Psychopharmacology (Drugs & Psychology) BPS302

Note that each module in the Certificate in Mental Health is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.

What Makes People More or Less Active than "Normal"?

Hyperactivity is common in children. As many as one third of child are considered to be overactive by their parents. However, when hyperactivity is prolonged and persistent it may be diagnosed as a disorder. Typically, hyperactivity also encompasses marked inattention and so the more recent name for the disorder used by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Diseases (DSM) and International Classification of Diseases (ICD) is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). We shall use this terminology here, however it is worth noting that the ICD and DSM diagnostic criteria are slightly different as follows.

  • ADHD is regarded by the DSM as having an onset before age 7, but the ICD states before age 6.
  • The DSM allows a diagnosis if either hyperactivity and impulsiveness or inattention are present, whereas the ICD states both must be present. 
  • The DSM states that deficits must be present in either home or at school with an impairment in the other situation, whereas the ICD states that deficits must be present in both situations.

From these diagnostic criteria it is evident that more cases of ADHD would likely be diagnosed using the DSM criteria, and those diagnosed using the ICD criteria would have more severe impairments.

The ICD also distinguishes subtypes with:

  • Disturbance of activity and attention
  • Hyperactivity conduct disorder

The second subtype is used since many children have a hyperactivity disorder in conjunction with a conduct disorder. These children are likely to reach a less favourable outcome.

The DSM uses subtypes of:

  • ADHD, Combined Type (6 or more symptoms of both inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity)
  • ADHD, Predominantly Inattentive Type (6 or more symptoms of inattention but fewer than 6 symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity)
  • ADHD, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type (6 or more symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity but fewer than 6 symptoms of inattention).

In each of the DSM subtypes symptoms must have been present for at least 6 consecutive months.

In adults and adolescents where symptoms do not meet the full DSM diagnostic criteria, a further subtype of ADHD, In Partial Remission may be used. 

Although some autistic children also exhibit hyperactivity and attention deficits a separate diagnosis of ADHD is not made since these behavioural impairments are considered to be a manifestation of their autistic disorder.


Both the ICD and DSM regard the key clinical features of ADHD to include:

  • Problems maintaining attention.
  • Extreme restlessness
  • Prolonged motor activity
  • Impulsiveness

Whilst these features may vary across situations so that different care givers, parents, teachers, and so forth may provide different accounts of behaviour there are some common features.

  • The symptoms of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity are more frequent and severe than those observed in peers of a similar developmental level.
  • The symptoms cause significant impairments in social, school or occupational functioning.
  • These features cannot be better accounted for by another mental health disorder. 

Discover How Physical and Mental Illness are Intertwined

Physical illness can be caused by emotional and psychological factors. Although traditional medicine focused on physical diseases, the contributions of Freud with his levels of consciousness, Pavlov and conditioned responses, and Cannon with his explanation of the fight-or-flight nervous system response introduced psychological factors and the notion of psychosomatic illnesses.

What is a Psychosomatic Illness?
The term 'psychosomatic illness' is most widely used to explain a physical illness with a known psychological cause, or at least which is significantly influenced by psychological factors. Many medical professionals acknowledge the influence of emotional factors in heart attack, hypertension, heart disease, stomach ulcers, asthma, eczema, and some other skin complaints. Even those who aren't convinced of a causal role would acknowledge that emotional responses will exacerbate symptoms of these physical problems.     

Psychological Factors, Accidents & Illness
There is a relationship between psychological factors, physical illness and accidents. For example, people who drink too much are more likely to be involved in road accidents. People who smoke and get lung cancer often have underlying emotional problems which cause them to smoke too much. Young men tend to be more aggressive than older men and are more likely to have accidents and injuries - they account for a higher percentage of road fatalities than other age and gender groups. People who struggle to control their body weight for psychological reasons are at higher risk of coronary heart disease and type II diabetes.


This course lays a foundation for working in a wide range of care and health professions.

  • For those who already have some qualifications or experience; it expands and deepens your professional expertise
  • For anyone new to these industries, it provides a basis for entering the industry, whether as an employee or in your own health or care related business.

What you learn here will expand your perception of mental health and where an understanding of mental health can be applied. As your awareness of the nature and scope of mental health grows; you will understand and see opportunities to apply this understanding in an ever increasing range of situations; for example -

  • Working as a care giver
  • Working in counselling
  • Youth work
  • Social services
  • Rehabilitation services
  • Health support services for practitioners, hospitals and else where.
ACS is an Organisational Member of the Association for Coaching (UK).
ACS is an Organisational Member of the Association for Coaching (UK).
ACS is a Member of the Complementary Medicine Association.
ACS is a Member of the Complementary Medicine Association.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.

How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
registration. Recommencement fees may apply.

Simply click on the ENROL OPTIONS button at the top of this screen and follow the prompts.

You can see the course price at the top of this page. Click 'enrolment options' to see any payment options available.

You can pay by Credit Card, PayPal, Afterpay or bank transfer.

Yes! We have payment plans for most courses. Click 'enrolment options' to see the available payment plans.
We also have Afterpay that will allow you to pay for your course or payment plans in four instalments (if you are in Australia).

What do I need to know before I enrol?

There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

You don’t need to purchase any additional resources to complete our courses.

We aim to teach you the essentials without you having to purchase any specific computer program.
We recommend that you have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so that you can easily complete and submit your assignments.

You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

Yes, if you are enrolling in a Certificate or Advanced Certificate, you might be eligible for credits if you have evidence of your previous studies or relevant experience. More information is here.

We recommend that you are able to browse websites, send emails and conduct online research. You will need to be able to type and submit your assignments.
If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course is aimed at providing you with a solid understanding in your selected discipline. It has been designed to take 600 hours, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and more. When you complete the course, will have a good understanding of the area/ industry you want to work in.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

Yes, your tutor is here to help you. Simply post any questions you have in your login.training portal or contact the office and we can pass on a message to your tutor.

We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $60 incl. GST for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exams (6 exams) and you will be able receive your course certificate- a Certificate. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

Yes, our courses are built to be applicable for people living anywhere in any situation. We provide the fundamentals, and each student can apply their own unique flair for their own interests, region and circumstances with the one-on-one guidance of a tutor. There is also a bit of student directed research involved.

Employers value candidates with industry skills, knowledge, practical skills and formal learning. Our courses arm you with all of these things to help prepare you for a job or start your own business. The longer you study the more you will learn.

ACS has an arrangement with OAMPS (formerly AMP) who can arrange Professional Indemnity from Australian and New Zealand graduates across all disciplines. Ph: 1800 222 012 or email acs@oamps.com.au.

Who are ACS Distance Education?

ACS Distance Education have been educating people for over 40 years.

We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
We are focused on developing innovative courses that are relevant to you now and what you will need to know in the future.
We are focused on helping you learn and make the most of your experience.
You can enrol at any time, you can work on your course when it suits you and at your own pace.
We are connected to many industry bodies and our staff participate in continuous improvement and learning activities to ensure that we are ahead of what learning is needed for the future.

Our courses are not accredited by the Australian Government. However many of our courses are recognised and held in high regard by many industry bodies.

Our courses are written by our staff, who all have many years experience and have qualifications in their speciality area. We have lots of academic staff who write and update our courses regularly.

How do I enrol my staff/ sponsored students?

Yes, you can do a request for a bulk enrolment and request an invoice on our Invoice Request Form

We can prepare an invoice, quote or proforma invoice. Simply complete your details on our Invoice Request form

We can arrange bulk discounts for your course enrolment, please get in touch with us to discuss your needs.

Yes, we have many students who are in locked facilities, such as prisons or hospitals. We can cater by also offering paper notes at an additional cost.

What if I have any more questions or need more information?

We can assist you to find the right course for your needs. Get in touch with us via email (admin@acs.edu.au) call on +61 7 5562 1088 or complete our course advice form.

What if I change my mind?

Please get in touch with studentservices@acs.edu.au if you would like to be removed from our mail list.

If you would like ACS Distance Education to delete your information at any time (whether you are a customer or a prospective customer), please contact our privacy officer and we will process this ( admin@acs.edu.au ).

Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Jacinda Cole (Psychologist)

Psychologist, Educator, Author, Psychotherapist.
B.Sc., Psych.Cert., M. Psych. Cert.Garden Design, MACA
Jacinda has over 25 years of experience in psychology, in both Australia and England. She holds a BSc (Hons) in Psychology and a Masters in Psychology (Clinical) and also trained in psychoanalytic psychotherapy at the London Centre for Psychotherapy. She has co-authored several psychology text books and many courses including diploma and degree level courses in psychology and counselling. Jacinda has worked for ACS for over 10 years.

Tracey Jones

Widely published author, Psychologist, Manager and Lecturer. Over 10 years working with ACS and 25 years of industry experience.
Qualifications include: B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), Dip. SW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Learning Disability Studies).

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