Learning mental health full time as an educator

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Natalie, a Graduate Certificate, Applied Mental Health Studies Full Time (2021) student explains how the course has enriched and complemented her career as an educator.

Throughout my career as an educator, I have been interested in more than the academic content I was required to teach. I had a natural curiosity to build positive relationships with my students, learning what matters to them, supporting them through personal challenges, while developing a classroom culture of safety and acceptance where they could share their feelings. I also prioritised a classroom atmosphere of laughter and joy, as this supports student learning, engagement and wellbeing. My core teaching beliefs always hinted at student mental health but I was not yet on my learning journey.

My teaching career abruptly came to an end in 2017 when I was required to care for a family member who was struggling with mental health. This journey has been filled with many challenges but it has also been a time of personal reflection and growth. When my family member was feeling stronger and I was able, I started to dip my toes into the mental health world.

I decided to undertake a post Graduate Diploma in Relationship Counselling as this would allow me to work with students and families. The completion of the counselling course led me to the full-time Graduate Certificate in Applied Mental Health (adult). My intention is to also complete the child/adolescent subjects which will complement my teaching and counselling background.

This course is amazing! The course content is engaging and interesting, the weekly learning tasks are varied and include podcasts, movies and readings. The assignments are demanding and require effort however, they are applicable to real life situations you will face when working within the mental health field. The staff are extremely encouraging, supportive and helpful. HETI also actively supports your mental health as they are aware some units may be personally triggering.

I have especially enjoyed the age specialisation subjects, reading the DSM-5, and listening to the Ted talk about the ACE’s study.

The full-time load is very demanding. The staff warn you about the heavy learning load and it is important to listen and take this information on board.

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.

If you have a passion and are interested in mental health, go for it!