Learning about mental health

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Learning about mental health care, a valuable skill for all

Mental health capabilities are crucial for any professional working in close contact with others. Whether in clinical or non-clinical roles, from nurses and GPs to the police force and teachers, learning about mental health care provides knowledge, skills and a framework to build personal and professional confidence and be better equipped to support others.

While public perception and the lack of information and education around mental illnesses created a stigma around mental health over the years, the increase in demand for mental health care during the Covid-19 pandemic has generated a positive shift in acceptance and recognition of mental health issues. Covid-19 has made it easier to talk about mental health and studying a course in mental health has become more accessible to anyone with an interest in improving their mental health care capabilities.

Learning about mental health provides a solid foundation to analyse the risks and recognise the early signs of mental health problems, have the tools and the confidence to act, and the essential skills to support people on their recovery journey. This allows individuals in clinical and non-clinical professions to perform better in their job, to have opportunities for professional and personal development, and to experience the benefits of supporting the community and those around them.

Doing a better job

Mental health is not the area of specialists such as psychologists and psychiatrists alone. Many clinical and non-clinical professionals can be involved in mental health care. This includes doctors, nurses, social workers, ambulance and police workers, pharmacists, allied health professionals, educators, family consultants, human resources workers… and the list goes on.

Learning about mental health builds valuable skills for any professional working with people. In addition to providing valuable academic resources, mental health courses are designed to build research skills to support an evidence-based approach to care, which is crucial in health care. By gaining a better understanding of the complexities of mental health and its impacts, students in mental health also acquire capabilities that allow them to recognise the risks of mental illness triggers, detect alarming signs, and have confidence to respond to someone experiencing mental health challenges.

Mental health is a major part of a person's overall health and wellbeing. At any stage of their life, individuals can experience a difficult, even traumatic, situation causing critical mental health issues that can impact their feelings and relationships with others and with themselves. While some people with mental health issues may be afraid to seek help, others don't even realise their condition until it's too late. Therefore, having professionals with the necessary mental health knowledge and skills is essential to recognise signs of illness and offer support to those who need.

Tammy and Louise, both Applied Mental Health Studies students, share how learning about mental health gave them the necessary tools to do a better job.

Thanks to what I've learnt, I've become more aware of remaining focused on the client's goals and using recovery-orientated language. Those things might sound basic. Nonetheless, it's important to be reminded of their importance; to make sure you're going into every session thinking, 'It's about the client's goals, not my own."

Tammy, Social Worker and Graduate Certificate Applied Mental Health Studies student at HETI Higher Education.

While a lot of the information was familiar from my experience in social work, the Masters provided a framework for what I was seeing on the ground. I'm particularly interested in mental health advocacy from the perspective of lived experience, so it was great to be pointed to research that supported that approach. It was very different to the evidence available when I first studied social work years ago."

Louise Salmon, Senior Family Consultant and Master Applied Mental Health Studies graduate student from HETI Higher Education.

Professional and personal development opportunity

Whilst having solid knowledge and understanding of mental health issues and their implications is fundamental, mental health care also requires essential human skills, strong rapport, empathy, compassion, active listening, strong ethics, and a desire to help a fellow human being.

As they learn about mental health and explore the different practices they can adopt to support those in need, students in mental health often tend to reflect on themselves, which ultimately influences the way they live and how they act around others by strengthening their social and human skills.

In addition to the reflective practice, learning about mental health also provides professionals with collaborative activities designed to create an engaging learning experience. Being surrounded by and sharing experience with a wide range of professionals, managers and other workers from different sectors not only encourages networking but it also allows students to broaden their horizons by acknowledging the different aspects, experiences and challenges other sectors might face.

Natalie and Linda shared how taking the Applied Mental Health Studies course has benefited their own professional and personal development.

What I took away is that I'm not responsible for someone else's recovery; the patient is responsible for their own recovery, and we see people with mental health issues as being the best experts on their own life."

Linda Newell, Psychologist and Graduate Certificate Applied Mental Health Studies student at HETI Higher Education.

I know you are a caring and compassionate person, if you are considering this course. This course will provide you with mental health tools and knowledge, building your personal and professional confidence to support others. You may even learn a little about yourself! Imagine the possibilities of where this course may lead you and the people you will support."

Natalie, Educator and Graduate Certificate Applied Mental Health Studies Full Time student at HETI Higher Education.

A benefit for those around us

Mental health skills are crucial for any professional working in close contact with others. Whether they are old or young, dealing with a physical condition or difficult situation, people need psychological and emotional support to overcome challenges.

I've learned how to be more mindful when interacting with older people as a result of doing the course. To take just one example, after completing the trauma-informed-care unit I became much more conscious of retraumatisation. You always need to be mindful of how the ageing process and complex clinical health issues can combine to impact someone's mental health."

Kersten Davis, Nurse and Graduate Certificate Applied Mental Health Studies student at HETI Higher Education.

As Kersten highlighted, any person experiencing a particular situation, whether it's related to a certain stage of life or a traumatic experience, may be exposed to a mental health risk. Mental health care plays a critical role in reducing the risk of chronic diseases related to stress, anxiety and substance abuse, improving the outlook for people who may feel hopeless and lost, and saving lives.

About Applied Mental Health Studies

At HETI Higher Education, we are driven to make a difference in mental health care. Our Applied Mental Health Studies courses provide unique pathways for students to address a core set of knowledge and capabilities for recovery-oriented mental health practice through a distinctive learning approach.

Delivered through online learning, the program incorporates pedagogical approaches that foster active learning and critical thinking, draw on earlier experience in mental health, and provide students with life-long learning goals.

Core units in recovery-oriented care, professional standards, innovation and improvement, therapeutic perspectives, research, leadership, clinical supervision, and a capstone experience support shared learning for students undertaking the specialisation of their choice, including:

Find out more about Applied Mental Health Studies