Learn how to council and guide people who are struggling with mental health and addiction issues, with this dual Certificate IV in Mental Health and Certificate IV in Alcohol and Other Drugs program.



Why study this course?

  • This course will equip you with an understanding of mental health, as well as a knowledge of alcohol/drug abuse and addiction behaviours. Together this skillset will make you an effective professional with the ability to help people through their struggles and make a real difference to their lives.

  • By studying both qualifications together, you may cut down on the time and money you would spend doing each course separately.

  • These qualifications are nationally recognised, so you can use them to gain employment all across the country.

  • Having both qualifications will open more job options up for you when you graduate, so you have more control over the direction of your career.

  • This dual program may provide a pathway into further study, including diploma qualifications.

Course number E1149
Qualification name CHC43215 Certificate IV in Alcohol & Other Drugs and CHC43315 Certificate IV in Mental Health
Course duration Maximum 24 months
Recommended hours per week 17.5
Qualification level Certificate IV
Delivery method Online with Work Placement
Recognition Nationally Recognised Nationally Recognised Training
Assessments Case studies, Multiple choice questions, Portfolio of evidence, Short-answer questions, Written assessments, Written reports
Awarded by Integrated Care & Management Training Pty Ltd (Provider number: 90197)

About the course

The industry

Each year, approximately one in every five Australians will experience a mental illness, while alcohol and other drug treatment services provided help to over 134,000 clients in 2015–16, so demand for skilled professionals in these areas is steady.

About 4% of people will experience a major depressive episode and approximately 14 % of Australians will be affected by an anxiety disorder in any 12-month period. Another 3% of Australians are affected by psychotic illness, such as schizophrenia. According to Mindframe, women are more likely than men to use services for mental health problems.

In 2015–16, about 796 alcohol and other drug treatment services provided just over 206,600 treatment episodes to an estimated 134,000 clients and this number continues to rise. The proportion of episodes where clients were receiving treatment for amphetamines has continued to rise over the 5 years to 2015–16, from 12% of treatment episodes in 2011–12 to 23% in 2015–16, National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) 2016 key findings report.

The Dual qualification: CHC43215 Certificate IV in Alcohol and Other Drugs and CHC43315 Certificate IV in Mental Health course will allow you to develop a wide range of skills to help those in similar situations, and offer support when they need it most.

Who this course is for

If you are looking to start a career in the community services space, but have no experience, this dual program is perfect for you. It will ground you in the foundations of mental health, and give you a strong base to launch your career from.

Alternatively, if you are already working in the sector and are looking to take the next step in your career, this dual program is a great way to formalise your experience and get the skills and knowledge you need to get ahead.

If you are an existing worker or have experience in the related industry, please inform our enrolment consultants during your enrolment conversation as you may be eligible to enrol as an existing worker and may be able to complete your studies faster.

Potential career outcomes

  • Case Worker
  • Community Support Worker
  • Detoxification Worker
  • Drug and Alcohol Worker
  • Family Support Worker
  • Mental Health Intake Officer
  • Mental Health Outreach Worker
  • Mental Health Rehabilitation Support Worker
  • Mental Health Worker
  • Outreach Worker
  • Support Worker

What you'll learn

During this program you will learn how to:

  • Build relationships.
  • Work in an alcohol and other drugs context.
  • Provide interventions for people with alcohol and other drugs issues.
  • Develop and review individual alcohol and other drugs treatment plans.
  • Work with people with a mental health issues.
  • Work effectively in trauma informed care.
  • Provide services to people with co-existing mental health and alcohol and other drugs issues.
  • Work with clients who are intoxicated.
  • Increase the safety of Individuals at risk of suicide.
  • Promote Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander cultural safety.
  • Establish self-directed recovery relationships.
  • Assess and promote social, emotional and physical wellbeing.
  • Promote and facilitate self-advocacy.
  • Develop and maintain networks and collaborative partnerships.
  • Work with diverse people.

Learning materials

Your learning materials are accessed through OpenSpace.

These include:

  • Learning content
  • Learning activities 
  • News forums
  • Access to relevant articles and information sources
  • Access to legislation relevant to the AOD and Mental Health sectors 

RTO partnership information

This course is offered by Open Colleges on behalf of Integrated Care & Management Training (provider Number 90197)

Course trainers

Melissa McKay

Melissa has over seven years’ experience within the community services sector as a Case Manager, as well as a Mental Health Nurse in acute care settings. She is currently completing a Bachelors of Applied Social Science to accompany her other vocational qualifications within the field of community services, mental health and AOD. Melissa has over five years of experience within the VET sector, developing and providing training to future community service workers. She is passionate about mental health and AOD and has an enormous passion for the training sector.

Sarah Burgess

Sarah has passionately worked in the training and assessment sector for almost 10 years, specialising in adult education for international students, new migrants and refugees. She holds a double degree in Bachelor of Arts (Social & Community Studies) and a Bachelor of Science (Nutrition). She presently delivers programs in the South Australian community as a Learning and Development Consultant, focusing on supporting individuals working through mental ill-health experiences and their recovery.

Sarah also works for ACATA Trust Fiji, as their Senior Community Health Education Officer (Nutritionist). Sarah has experience teaching around the world and has recently returned from living and volunteering in Fiji with the Australian Red Cross for some time.

Academic information

Open Colleges may make changes to the course from time to time to reflect changes introduced to the relevant Training Package or other regulatory requirements.

Module 1

  • Communicate with clients and co-workers
  • Address communication needs
  • Facilitate meetings
  • Identify and respond to legal requirements
  • Identify and meet ethical responsibilities
  • Contribute to workplace improvements

Module 2

  • Work from a trauma informed care perspective
  • Utilise self-care strategies
  • Contribute to the continuous improvement of trauma informed care in services
  • Prepare for assessment
  • Analyse the person’s needs using a collaborative approach
  • Determine appropriate services
  • Complete reporting
  • Evaluate assessment and referral processes
  • Assess capacity to provide support to a person with co-existing mental health and AOD issues
  • Work collaboratively to provide support services to address co-existing issues
  • Facilitate links to further care
  • Collaborate with the person to minimise risk
  • Review and report on support provided

Module 3

  • Reflect on own perspectives
  • Appreciate diversity and inclusiveness, and their benefits
  • Communicate with people from diverse backgrounds and situations
  • Promote understanding across diverse groups
  • Identify cultural safety issues in the workplace
  • Model cultural safety in own work
  • Develop strategies for improved cultural safety
  • Evaluate cultural safety strategies

Module 4

  • Establish the context for AOD work
  • Apply understanding of context to AOD practice
  • Integrate the core values and principles of AOD work into practice
  • Apply understanding of the impact of values in AOD practice
  • Identify and assess the person’s current suicide risk
  • Collaborate to increase immediate safety
  • Facilitate links to further support
  • Review and report on support provided

Module 5

  • Identify and build resilience and capacity in the person’s care network and community of choice
  • Develop and maintain effective working relationships with other services and programs
  • Review and monitor services provided by other organisations and programs
  • Follow safe work practices
  • Implement safe work practices
  • Contribute to safe work practices in the workplace
  • Reflect on own safe work practices

Module 6

  • Promote principles of recovery and recovery oriented practice
  • Establish the context for a self-directed recovery relationship
  • Invite information sharing
  • Define and confirm the collaborative relationship
  • Share and collect information to collaboratively inform the plan for recovery
  • Facilitate collaborative planning process for recovery
  • Collaboratively implement plan for recovery
  • Develop and maintain effective working relationships with care support network
  • Support person during challenges
  • Collaboratively review the effectiveness of the plan and support provided

Module 7

  • Assess the persons wellbeing
  • Promote physical wellbeing
  • Promote social wellbeing
  • Promote emotional wellbeing
  • Promote cultural or spiritual wellbeing
  • Review the persons well being
  • Assist individuals or groups to identify their issues, rights and preferred options
  • Enable individuals to gain self-advocacy skills
  • Follow up and support individuals after self-advocacy
  • Promote self-advocacy

Module 8

  • Respond to an emergency situation
  • Apply appropriate first aid procedures
  • Communicate details of the incident
  • Evaluate the incident and own performance

Open Colleges does not offer this Unit of Competency. You will be required to undertake the Unit of Competency with an external provider at your own cost. 

  • Assess the person’s needs
  • Use brief intervention strategies
  • Monitor brief intervention activities
  • Prepare for intervention
  • Confirm intervention requirements with client
  • Conduct intervention.
  • Monitor and record activities

Module 9

  • Provide services to intoxicated clients
  • Reduce harm or injury to self, client and others
  • Assist client with longer term needs
  • Prepare for assessment
  • Conduct assessment
  • Record assessment and provide feedback
  • Identify and respond to need for referral
  • Consider the type of treatment and services to be provided
  • Determine treatment goals and strategies
  • Review client progress

Module 10

  • Establish respectful relationships with people with mental health issues
  • Determine the needs of people with mental health issues
  • Work with people with mental health issues to meet aspirations and needs
  • Identify networking and collaboration needs and opportunities
  • Develop collaboration strategies
  • Work collaboratively
  • Represent the organisation
  • Maintain and enhance networks and collaborative partnerships

Assessment details

  • Case studies
  • Multiple choice questions
  • Portfolio of evidence
  • Short-answer questions
  • Written assessments
  • Written reports

Recognition of Prior Learning

We understand that you may already have many skills and areas of expertise that you have obtained in different ways and these are recognised through our Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) process.

Open Colleges has developed an RPL application kit for this course.

The Student Handbook, available in the Key Student Information section of our website, provides more information about our RPL process. Alternatively, you can contact an Enrolment Consultant to discuss your RPL options. 

Course duration

The duration for the course is maximum 24 months. As a self-paced online course, the time it will take you to complete is flexible and dependent on ability and time available.

Qualification awarded

Upon successful completion of this course you will receive nationally recognised qualifications CHC43215 Certificate IV in Alcohol and Other Drugs and CHC43315 Certificate IV in Mental Health both awarded by Integrated Care & Management Training Pty Ltd. (Provider Number: 90197).

Work placement

What is a work placement?

A work placement is the part of your course where you learn and are assessed in a place of work related to your course which has been approved by Open Colleges.

At your work placement, you'll get practical, hands on experience under the guidance of your supervisor. Your supervisor will be someone with involvement in industry, who can mentor you during your placement.

What are the benefits?

  • By undertaking a work placement you’ll get a chance to put the knowledge you’ve learned on your course into practice.
  • You’ll also develop practical, on-the-job skills and could make contacts that could help you find a job once you graduate.
  • Work placement is often the most rewarding part of a student’s course. Working face-to-face with clients and colleagues in your chosen field makes a huge difference to your career confidence.

How do I find a work placement?

You’ll need to find a work placement yourself and ensure it’s approved by Open Colleges. When looking for a suitable work placement host organisation, have a think about the following:

  • Are you already working or volunteering in the industry your course is related to? You could potentially do your work placement at your current place of work or have contacts that could recommend a suitable work place. Ask around!
  • If you’re entering a new industry, do some research and start thinking about organisations you could approach. We have plenty of resources available to help with approaching and finding a suitable work placement organisation.

Work placement hours

This course contains a minimum of 160 hours of work placement.

Host organisation

You will need to undertake your work placement in an organisation involved in the delivery of alcohol and other drug and mental health related services to clients. The workplace will need to be able to provide you with access to specialist equipment and resources.

The specific requirements of the workplace are outlined in the course overview. Your workplace assessor will ascertain whether the workplace is appropriate.

Supervisor requirements

Your supervisor must have at least 3 years of experience in the community services industry and/or hold a minimum qualification of Certificate IV in Alcohol and Other Drugs or Certificate IV in Mental Health or equivalent.


There are a number of statutory checks required by workplaces, such as a National Police Check, Working with Children Check (or state equivalent), Occupational Assessment Screening and Vacination against Infectious Disease and sign a Code of Conduct and Confidentiality Agreement. These may vary by state.

In addition, individual workplaces may impose additional requirements on students undertaking work placement. You will be responsible for the costs of any such checks or requirements. The Course Overview has information on the individual statutory requirements for each state and territory.

Open Colleges provides insurance cover for the mandatory work placement you undertake as part of your course. This insurance coverage includes Public and Products Liability Insurance as well as Student Personal Accident Insurance.

Open Colleges recommends that you consider the work placement options in your local area prior to enrolling in this course. You are required to source your own work placement.

More information can be found in the Workplace Assessment Guide.




There are no formal education entry requirements for this course.

Minimum age

You will need to be at least 18 years old.


This course involves reading learning content and undertaking a range of written assessments and engaging in online forums and discussions. Furthermore, the delivery mode relies on the extensive use of written communication. As such, entry to the course requires the successful completion of English to Year 12 level.

If you haven't successfully completed English at Year 12 level, you can demonstrate equivalency through one of the following:

  • Successful completion of a Nationally Recognised Training qualification at Certificate III level or higher; or
  • 2 years relevant industry experience in a role that requires the use of written documentation and communication

Open Colleges recognises that not all people are able to read, write and perform calculations to the same standard. See the Language, Literacy and Numeracy Considerations section for more information on tools, resources and support services provided to by Open Colleges.


You will need access to a computer and the internet and have basic computing skills. Minimum specifications for your computer are:

All users:

  • Microsoft Office 2010 or equivalent
  • Broadband internet connection
  • 2GB of RAM
  • CD-ROM or DVD drive
  • Adobe Reader XI or equivalent
  • Adobe Flash Player 10 or higher
  • Access to printer and associated software
  • Access to scanner and associated software
  • Digital imaging software
  • File compression software

Windows users:

  • Microsoft Windows 7 or higher (Windows 8 recommended)
  • 1 Ghz or faster processer (2GHz recommended)

Mac OS users:

  • Mac OSX v10.5 or higher (Mac OSX v10.6 recommended)
  • 1 Ghz or faster processer (2GHz recommended)


You will need access to a digital camera and associated software to save and upload image and video files to OpenSpace. You'll also need access to a web camera and a microphone enabled headset to participate in Google Hangouts, online tutorials and video conferences. Many smartphones, tablets and computers have this technology installed.


To successfully complete this course, you will require basic computing skills. This includes:

  • Creating, saving and editing Microsoft Office documents.
  • Accessing and searching the internet.
  • Downloading and saving documents from websites.
  • Uploading documents through websites.
  • Participating in online discussions.
  • Compressing image files.
  • Connecting digital cameras and downloading and storing images.

Physical requirements

Learners must be reasonably physically fit, as the role may involve a variety of tasks that require a moderate amount of physical activity, such as providing direct assistance to clients with daily living and assisting clients with mobility.

Learners undertaking unit HLTAID003 Provide first aid requires learners undertaking Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) continuously for a minimum of 2 minutes while kneeling on the floor.

Mental health skills

During work placement you will be responsible for providing support and services to individuals and families experiencing mental health issues. This may include confidential individual, family or group counselling, supporting families dealing with mental health issues, working with clients who have complex needs and working with children and young people experiencing abuse. It is important that you are able to work cooperatively in a team, act with cultural sensitivity, be accepting of diversity and be non-judgemental. Some of the learning materials are sensitive in nature and warnings are provided along with potential services that can assist with self-care and managing any personal issues that the learning may raise.

Language, Literacy and Numeracy

Our free online assessment tool can help give you an idea of the language, literacy and numeracy skills needed to study a VET course. This tool can also help you determine your learning level and help you plan your future studies. You can access the Language, Literacy and Numeracy tool here.

Payment options

Pay in Full

If you choose to pay your course fees up-front in full, you’ll benefit from a 15% discount (unless otherwise advertised).

Pay 50% Deposit

If you choose to pay 50% of your course fees up-front, you'll benefit from 50% of the standard (or advertised) discount.

Payment Plan

Pay for your course in weekly or fortnightly instalments. By paying in instalments, you can schedule your payments around your regular outgoings and get ahead without breaking the bank. Open Colleges payment plans are interest-free.

ZipMoney Payment Plan

If you need a little more flexibility in your finances, and want to pay off your course fees over a longer period of time, we can assist by organising ZipMoney to pay your course fees directly to us on your behalf, and you pay this loan back to ZipMoney over a period of agreed time with them. ZipMoney provides you flexible options of selecting a 24, 36 or 48 months interest-free payment plan (dependant on which course you are enrolling into) to suit your lifestyle, giving you more flexibility than ever before. This payment method is only available over the phone, call an Enrolment Consultant to find out more or check out the FAQs here.


With BPAY®, you’re able to pay quickly and securely, 24/7 through your Internet, mobile or phone banking service. You can choose when, how much and from which account to pay from - whatever works for you. BPAY® is only available when paying in full. Call an Enrolment Consultant to find out more. 

BPAY® is a trademark of BPAY Pty Ltd ABN 69 079 137 518. Check if BPAY® is right for you by reading the terms and conditions available from your Financial Institution.

Studying online with Open Colleges

Flexibility - study at your own pace

When you study online with Open Colleges you’re in control.

You can choose to complete your course quickly or keep to a steady pace, and with no deadlines or schedules to stick to, fitting your learning around your everyday commitments is easy.

Everything you need to study is online so you can study wherever you like – but that doesn’t mean you’re on your own.

OpenSpace is our purpose-built online learning platform. It’s where you’ll go to access your learning materials, contact your expert trainers and assessors, upload your assessments and find all the support and motivation you need to keep going from the OC community.


Your online community

What is OpenSpace?

Open Colleges offers you a custom-designed online-learning platform called OpenSpace.

Your learning platform is the heart of your study experience. This is where you'll navigate through your course materials, contact your trainers and assessors, and connect with other online students.



What can you do in OpenSpace?

OpenSpace provides you with a secure, interactive learning environment that allows you to access a wealth of learning resources. In OpenSpace you can:

  • Access all your course materials, including videos and other digital resources
  • Complete the learning activities related to your course
  • Get the latest news about Open Colleges and your course
  • Get to know your fellow students by posting in the course forums, and find a 'Study Buddy'
  • Connect with your Trainers and Assessors
  • Access extensive online libraries for research
  • Upload your assessments, view feedback, and access your grades 

It’s just like a real campus – but it’s available anywhere and anytime.

How to get support

Academic support

Your experienced trainers are available in OpenSpace to answer any questions you may have regarding the learning materials or assessments.

Your training operations manager can also provide you with advice and support regarding the overall course. 

Student support

The student support team is your one-stop service centre for all student administrative issues – including enrolment, change of contact details, OpenSpace support, assessment results and certification.

You can access the student support team in OpenSpace or by email or phone

Peer support

As a student of Open Colleges you will join a community of over 65,000 people who are also studying online. Through OpenSpace you can connect and collaborate with others to share study tips and advice. 

Our students find this is a great way to keep motivated and build lasting friendships and networks. 

Work Placement Support

If your course contains work placement, the work placement support team can provide you with support, advice and resources if you encounter difficulties in securing a workplace for your work placement.

You can access the work placement support team via your trainer and assessor or the student support team.

About Open Colleges

Our history and heritage

Open Colleges has been delivering quality education for over 125 years. During this time, we have honed our unique learning model to become one of Australia’s leaders in online learning.

We’ve achieved this by continuously evolving our approach to meet the needs of our learners by offering flexible, accessible, affordable and supportive courses.

We have helped over 450,000 people in the last decade alone gain the skills to launch, change or take the next step in their careers.

All of us at Open Colleges put the student at the centre of everything we do, whether that’s helping you find the right course, designing a new course, making improvements to our online campus or giving the support you need to reach your goals.

Commitment to quality

December 2013 saw Open Colleges Australia (the holding company of Open Colleges Pty Ltd) become part of Apollo Education Group, Inc.

Being part of Apollo gives Open Colleges access to the expertise, experience and educational resources of the University of Phoenix (USA), Institute of Professional Development (USA), BPP University (UK) and other institutions in the Apollo global network.

Our ongoing partnerships and place within the Apollo family ensure we continue to deliver a student experience that’s best in class.


With Open Colleges you can:

  • Study nationally recognised qualifications
  • Choose from a wide variety online courses
  • Fit study around your family or work commitments
  • Enrol 365 days of the year
  • Find a payment option that works for you
  • Get academic and student support – online or over the phone
  • Join a community of thousands of like-minded students

Get in touch

Still got a question?

Call an Education Advisor on 1300 161 345 for more details about this course and the enrolment process.

It’s our priority to ensure you enrol in the perfect course so an Education Advisor will be in touch shortly to discuss your specific goals and what you want to achieve through studying online. They’ll clearly explain the course options that would suit you best and why they would work for you and talk you through how online learning with Open Colleges works.