Diploma of Community Services (Mental health)

This qualification applies to workers providing services to clients in relation to mental health issues.

The qualification:

Includes counselling, referral, advocacy and education/health promotion services

Requires high level specialist knowledge, skills and competencies especially in regard to laws affecting clients, the range of services available to them and health issues related to mental health.

Occupational titles may include:

Community support worker

Community rehabilitation and support worker

Mental health community worker

Mental health rehabilitation support worker

Mental health outreach worker

Mental health support worker



16 units are required for award of this qualification including:

14core units

2 elective units:

A wide range of elective units is available, including:

Relevant electives listed below

Units of competency to address workplace requirements and packaged at the level of this qualification or higher in Community Services and/or Health Training Packages

Where appropriate, to address workplace requirements, units of competency packaged at the level of this qualification or higher in other relevant Training Packages

Core units

add topic CHCAD504B Provide advocacy and representation services

add topic CHCAOD510B Work effectively with clients with complex alcohol and/or other drugs issues

add topic CHCCOM403A Use targeted communication skills to build relationships

add topic CHCCS504B Provide services to clients with complex needs

add topic CHCCW503A Work intensively with clients

add topic CHCMH401A Work effectively in mental health settings

add topic CHCMH402B Apply understanding of mental health issues and recovery processes

add topic CHCMH404B Conduct assessment and planning as part of the recovery process

add topic CHCMH409A Facilitate consumer, family and carer participation in the recovery process

add topic CHCMH501A Provide advanced supports to facilitate recovery

add topic CHCORG428A Reflect on and improve own professional practice

add topic CHCPOL501A Access evidence and apply in practice

add topic CHCPROM503A Provide community focused promotion and prevention strategies

add topic HLTWHS401A Maintain workplace WHS processes

The importance of culturally aware and respectful practice

All workers undertaking mental health and/or alcohol and other drugs work need foundation knowledge to inform their work with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander clients and co-workers and with clients and co-workers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. This foundation must be provided and assessed as part of a holistic approach to delivery and assessment of this qualification. Specific guidelines for assessment of this aspect of competency are provided in the Assessment Guidelines for the Community Services Training Package.

Where work involves a specific focus on Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and/or culturally diverse clients or communities, one or more of the following electives is recommended:

add topic HLTHIR403C Work effectively with culturally diverse clients and co-workers

add topic HLTHIR404D Work effectively with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people

add topic PSPMNGT605B Manage diversity

Relevant electives

The following grouping of relevant electives is provided to facilitate selection and does not necessarily reflect workplace requirements. Electives may be selected from one or more groups. Employers may specify that certain electives are required to address specific workplace needs.

Additional electives for work with people with mental health issues

add topic CHCCM501A Coordinate complex case requirements (Note pre-requisite add topic CHCCM404A )

add topic CHCMH405A Work collaboratively to support recovery process

add topic CHCMH502A Provide supports for children at risk of mental health problems

add topic CHCMH503A Provide forensic mental health services

Electives for work with people with alcohol and other drugs issues

add topic CHCAOD402B Work effectively in the alcohol and other drugs sector

add topic CHCAOD511C Provide advanced interventions to meet the needs of clients with alcohol and/or other drug issues

add topic CHCAOD512B Develop and implement a behaviour response plan

add topic CHCAOD513A Provide relapse prevention strategies

Client support electives

add topic CHCCM404A Undertake case management for clients with complex needs

add topic CHCCM705C Work effectively with carers and families in complex situations

add topic CHCCS305C Assist clients with medication (Note pre-requisite add topic HLTAP301B )

add topic CHCCS417B Provide support and care relating to suicide bereavement

add topic CHCCS426B Provide support and care relating to loss and grief

add topic CHCCSL501A Work within a structured counselling framework

add topic CHCCSL502A Apply specialist interpersonal and counselling interview skills

add topic CHCCSL503B Facilitate the counselling relationship

add topic CHCCSL507B Support clients in decision-making processes

add topic CHCCSL509A Reflect and improve upon counselling skills (Note pre-requisites add topic CHCCSL501A , add topic CHCCSL503B , add topic CHCCSL507B )

add topic CHCDFV402C Manage own professional development in responding to domestic and family violence

add topic CHCDFV505C Counsel clients affected by domestic and family violence

add topic CHCLLN403A Identify clients with language, literacy and numeracy needs and respond effectively

add topic HLTAP301B Recognise healthy body systems in a health care context

Team coordination and management electives

add topic CHCINF505D Meet statutory and organisation information requirements

add topic CHCNET503D Develop new networks

add topic CHCORG525D Recruit and coordinate volunteers

add topic CHCORG611C Lead and develop others in a community sector workplace

add topic CHCORG627B Provide mentoring support to colleagues

Problem gambling electives

add topic CHCGMB501A Work effectively in the problem gambling sector

add topic CHCGMB502A Assess the needs of clients with problem gambling issues

add topic CHCGMB503A Provide counselling for clients with problem gambling issues

Social housing / homelessness electives

add topic CHCCH301C Work effectively in social housing

add topic CHCCH410B Manage and maintain tenancy agreements and services

add topic CHCCH427B Work effectively with people experiencing or at risk of homelessness

add topic CHCCH428B Work effectively within the Australian housing system

add topic CHCCH522B Undertake outreach work

Social diversity and community support work

add topic CHCCD420B Work to empower Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander communities

add topic CHCCS421B Undertake community sector work within own community

add topic CHCCS506A Promote and respond to workplace diversity

Oral health

add topic CHCOHC401A Inform and encourage clients and groups to understand and achieve good oral health

add topic CHCOHC402A Support clients and groups to learn practical aspects of oral health care

add topic CHCOHC404A Recognise and respond to signs and symptoms that may indicate oral health issues


    Not Applicable

Entry Requirements

To gain entry into this qualification a candidate must:

1. Be recently appointed or currently working in a community support mental health work role and have a relevant recognised higher education or vocational education qualification at Certificate IV or above


2. Be recognised as competent, through a recognised training program or recognition process, against the following qualification (or equivalent):

CHC40512 Certificate IV in Mental Health


3. Have sufficient work experience in the relevant sector to indicate likely success at this level of qualification in a job role involving:

The application of knowledge with depth in some areas and demonstration of a broad range of technical and other skills

A wide range of tasks and roles in a variety of contexts, with complexity in the range and choices of actions required

The exercise of discretionary judgement and decision making under general guidance

Licensing Information

Not Applicable

Employability Skills

Refer to the Topic: Introduction to the Employability Skills Qualification Summaries