Program Information

The Addiction & Mental Health Worker program will help you acquire the knowledge and skills needed to work in addictions & mental health services by using evidence-based knowledge. For example, you will learn skills in screening, assessing and responding to those with mental health, substance use and other addictions from diverse cultural and community perspectives. Furthermore, you will gain the knowledge on how to work with individuals, family members and small groups who are impacted by addiction and mental health issues. Such settings include social and advocacy organizations, residential care facilities, outpatient care centres and community-based food, housing, emergency and other relief services.


  • Basic Psychology
  • Human Services Resources & Networking
  • Communication Strategies
  • Counselling Relationship Best Practices
  • Case Management and Assessment
  • Interviewing Techniques
  • Relapse Prevention & Intervention / After Care and Life Skills
  • Group Facilitation Concepts
  • Preventative Health Promotion
  • Fundamentals of Addiction
  • Pharmacology
  • Secondary Traumatic Stress
  • Criminal Behaviour – Mental Health & Addictions
  • Abnormal Psychology and Mental Health
  • Concurrent Disorders
  • Sociological Perspectives on Mental Health
  • Admission and Discharge Assessment Techniques
  • Diversity of First Nations and Selected Populations in Health and Illness
  • Working with Families and Youth
  • Crisis Prevention and Intervention – CPI
  • Placement

Program Components Allocation Theory (In School – Includes testing) 43 weeks Internship 6 weeks Total 49 weeks

Basic Psychology

Introduces student to the scientific study of human behaviour and mental processes. This course provides an overview of the basic concepts in Psychology. Topics include biology and behaviour, states of consciousness, motivation and emotion, development, disorders, social psychology and personality. Human Services Resources & Networking This course helps students understand human behaviour from multiple perspectives. This subject establishes a framework to assess needs and explores the various services available in the community. This is accomplished by guiding the student through a series of assignments to enhance their evaluation skills and knowledge.

Communication Strategies

This course helps students to communicate information between a sender and a receiver. Communication strategies can be verbal, nonverbal or visual. Integrating all the strategies together will allow you to see the most success. Topics include language, presenting your message, human communication, perception and the self, communicating with family and friends, communicating in groups and on the job, public communication, organization and support, informative and persuasive speaking.

Counseling Relationship

The aim of this course helps students understand the process of counseling the parties of a human relationship in an effort to recognize, and to better manage or reconcile, troublesome differences and repeating patterns of stress upon the relationship. Topics include ethical decision making, process and skills, skills for understanding, loss and crisis.

Case Management and Assessment

This subject will enable the student to become aware of the various testing procedures and begin to learn the methods in which an appropriate and accurate assessment can be made. Subjects covered include laboratory testing, psychometric assessment, interviews, services, analysis, situations, differential diagnosis and the matching hypothesis. The student will be able to identify characteristics of impulsive drug-seeking behavior. The student will be able to prepare social work related written reports and communicate the progress of a client. Various methods of recording will be explored, including handwritten, computerized and microfilm.

Interviewing Techniques

This topic will enable the student to define communication skills and demonstrate how to use them effectively in many kinds of situations. A group of core communication skills necessary to any interview in counselling, nursing, social work, personnel work, or information gathering are explored.

Relapse Prevention & Intervention / After Care & Life Skills

This section provides the student with an understanding of relapse as a natural part of the recovery process. The student will be offered a range of strategies and techniques to assist in minimizing and preventing the harmful effects of prolonged periods of relapse during the journey of recovery. Students are guided through the entire relapse process to better understand why relapse occurs and learn how to prevent its devastating effects by considering the application of some basic principles introduced in the CENAPS Model of treatment developed by Terence T. Gorski and Merlene Miller.

Group Facilitation Concepts

This subject will provide the student with an overview of the nature of group work in a social services setting and an opportunity to explore relevant techniques and exercises designed to enhance group work.

Preventative Health Promotion

The student is introduced to various health and relationship concerns that are relevant in chemically dependent individuals. The student will learn to evaluate the effectiveness of program delivery and begin to create new ideas for promoting healthier lifestyle choices within a range of settings and diverse Populations.

Fundamentals of Addiction

This subject provides the foundation for further in-depth subjects as students continue in the study of addiction. The basic pharmacological nature and effects of a range of psychoactive chemicals are presented with an emphasis on challenging myths of which chemicals cost society the greatest in terms of economic costs and social burden of human suffering. Specific target populations are explored, focusing on women, children/adolescents, ethnic minorities, elderly, disabled and those suffering from mental illness in the family. Assessment, intervention strategies and treatment options are presented along with the most common problems encountered during the duration of with respects to Substance Abuse and Mental Illness.


This subject provides a base of drug information – the basic pharmacological nature and effects of a range of psychoactive chemicals are presented. Students will build knowledge relating to drug treatments/usage to various body systems and associated diseased states. Students will understand the effects of drugs on the chemically dependent population and Mental Illness Toxicity, allergies and drug abuse will be addressed.

Secondary Traumatic Stress

Secondary traumatic stress results from helping or wanting to help a traumatized or suffering person. With a focus on self-awareness, the foundation for examining the skills required for effective interpersonal relationships are presented. Through readings and a series of simulated situational exercises the students gain insight into their personal strengths and weaknesses, improve their perceptions of self and skill level in relating to others. Areas covered include the identification of trauma, coping with secondary traumatic stress, and ethical issues associated with secondary traumatic stress.

Criminal Behaviour – Mental Health & Addictions

This course will address several subtopics related to criminal behaviours exhibited by those with mental illness or addictions issues. Content includes incarcerated options and services for traumatized adults and adolescent; introduction, method, results, discussions, and treatment options from criminal court divisions; and neurobiological and theoretical areas of mental illness/addictions and criminal behaviour.

Abnormal Psychology and Mental Health This course will encompass all aspects of abnormal psychology. Throughout the course, knowledge of abnormalities within a historical, social and cultural context will be reviewed. Along with abnormal patterns of behavior, the studying of explaining, predicting and changing abnormal behaviors will be explored. Case studies, current issues and trends and models of abnormalities will also be examined.

Concurrent Disorders

Concurrent disorders refers to an individual who suffers from a mental health disorder as well as an addiction disorder. Individuals with concurrent disorders face unique and difficult challenges. This course will teach students about concurrent disorders, causes of concurrent disorders, interrelationship of the problems, treatment methods for concurrent disorders, and how to interact with someone suffering from concurrent disorders.

Sociological Perspectives on Mental Health

This course involves working with those in helping professions related to mental health. Content includes methods that service providers give treatment; overview of sociality, psychiatry, and the disability and minor rights movements of people suffering from mental illness; and sociological aspects related to various mental health issues.

Diversity of First Nations and Selected Populations in Health and Illness

This course will encompass addiction, mental illness, criminal behaviour, poverty, and suicide as they relate to First Nations communities. Diversity of other populations, gender, elderly, youth, and the LGBT community will be explored.

Working with Families and Youth

The purpose of this course is to provide the student with an introduction to the issues surrounding addiction that affect family members specifically. The main concepts of co- dependency are introduced, both in the context of the family and the workers own risk of co-dependency, which could result in countertransference. This module addresses the relevant issues involved in family recovery pertaining to addiction and other dysfunctional behaviour. It provides a history of family therapy that includes therapeutic theories, general systems concepts, relapse prevention of family treatment as well as the process of Intervention and basic strategies of interviewing families.

Admission and Discharge Assessment Techniques

This course entails an overview of the various tools utilized by counselors to analyze areas of concern in a bio-psycho- social realm. The Comprehensive Assessment consists of an eight page questionnaire that deals with Screening, Assessment and Diagnosis of Substance Abuse or Dependence. This course will allow the student to utilize the tools in administering, scoring and interpreting the scores to navigate throughout the system for the benefit of the client.

Crisis Prevention Intervention- CPI

This subject will prepare the student to define and identify the different types of crisis and the techniques used for intervention. The components of intervention will be explored together with the related effects,routines, problems and time limits involved.


The purpose of this of the course is to prepare the students for the practical aspect of being an Addictions and Mental Health Worker. They will learn first-hand how to deal with real-life situations and garner experience within the field. By training within the practical setting, students will gain an understanding of how to react or act proactively within different situations. They will gain knowledge of how to interact with clients and meet their needs. Also of importance, students will gain experience that will accustom them to a work environment and be able to apply the knowledge they have accumulated throughout the program.

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