Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Nursing

Course Information

View entry requirements, career options and what’s available to you, through our extensive student support network below.

Entry requirements

  • Completed an AQF Level 7 Bachelor of Nursing, or equivalent qualification; AND
  • Registration as a Registered Nurse (Division 1) OR Registered Midwife with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) OR equivalent registration with the relevant registering authority for applicants outside of Australia; AND
  • Provide written confirmation from their employer that they are employed in a mental health setting; OR
  • Completed Victoria University’s Graduate Certificate in Mental Health Nursing.

Career options

With VU Online’s Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Nursing, you’ll enhance your knowledge and skills in evidence-based assessment and intervention approaches in mental health to take up senior mental health services positions. This course positions you to take on mental health care coordination roles, leadership roles in mental health nursing or roles in community mental health services.

You will also be able to progress towards credentialing with the ACMHN.

Upon completion, you can continue your studies to gain your Master of Mental Health Nursing.

Student support

VU Online provides you with the support you need, when you need it, during your course. Our support network has a single focus on ensuring you are entirely supported to succeed in your studies.

Our highly experienced academics are responsive and accessible and understand how to deliver a quality online learning experience. You will also be introduced to your very own Student Success Advisor, who provides motivation and one-on-one personalised assistance with non-academic matters throughout your course.

You’ll experience the support of your community through chat, virtual seminars and discussion board activity. Remember, your support network is only a phone call and email away.

 

Fees and FEE-Help

Our Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Nursing costs $2,600 - $2,700 per unit*. The total cost for all eight units is $21,200.

FEE-HELP loans are available to assist eligible full-fee paying students with the cost of a university course. This Government loan scheme helps to pay for all or part of their tuition.

*2022 student fees are shown and are subject to change.

For more information on fees and student support, download a brochure.

Commonwealth Supported Places

A Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) is a place where the government pays for part of your unit fees. This is a subsidy, not a loan, so you do not need to pay it back. Your remaining fees may also be eligible for FEE-HELP.

This subsidy is available to eligible students completing the Master of Mental Health. It is only applicable to specific units completed in 2022.

To find out if you’re eligible for this subsidy, visit the government’s Study Assist.

How online study works

Studying with VU Online means that you can undertake postgraduate study without having to attend on-campus classes. This makes it easy to fit study around existing commitments including work and family. You will be able to access your coursework, resources, assignment details and individual feedback from facilitators, all from your online learning environment, VU Collaborate.

Chat with fellow students, compare research notes and collaborate on group tasks – it’s all possible with our seamless, community-focused platform.

With VU Online, you will study just one unit at a time under our award-winning Block Model. Learn about our postgraduate online Block Model with this YouTube video.

You will receive support from our responsive academics and facilitators, as well as your dedicated Student Success Advisor throughout your study.

How to apply

VU Online has simplified the application process, involving just three key steps.

 

 

  1. Speak to one of our Student Enrolment Advisors, who will help you determine your eligibility for the program and whether it suits your career goals. Our advisor will keep you informed of all the application requirements and what to expect during the process. They can also suggest flexible study plans for your circumstances.
  2. Begin your online application and submit the required documentation. This may include a copy of your CV and academic transcript.
  3. Upon completing your application, you will receive a confirmation email or an email letting you know if you need to provide any additional information.

Learn about our postgraduate online Block Model and how it can empower you to create your own success story.

What you'll study

Recovery Oriented Mental Health (Unit Code HNO6010)

In this unit, students critically reflect on the lived experience of mental illness. The students' learning journey begins by examining past institutional abuse of people with mental illness and the continuing effects of stigma across social and diverse cultural contexts. Students analyse the evolution of the mental health consumer movement, focusing on consumer rights, autonomy, self-determination, collaborative decision-making, and strength-based models to support recovery from mental ill-health. Students also interrogate how to support consumers who have complex mental illness or who exhibit challenging behaviours, within a consumer-centred, recovery-oriented framework. Students will also debate the challenges that arise when balancing the diverse needs of consumers and carers in relation to confidentiality, privacy, and disclosure.

Biopsychosocial and Cultural Perspectives in Mental Health (Unit Code HNO6011)

This unit examines biopsychosocial and cultural perspectives of mental illness. This includes the links between serious mental illness, physical health conditions, complex comorbidities, and disability. Students will interrogate the correlation between lower levels of physical health, mental health, and socio-economic indices for people experiencing chronic physical conditions and mental ill-health. Students will also cross-examine the ethical dilemmas and cultural perspectives of mental ill-health for people with diverse experiences, backgrounds, and lifestyles. This includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, culturally and linguistically diverse groups, LGBTQIA+ peoples, veteran groups, and people from metropolitan, regional, rural, and remote communities across Australia. Students will also evaluate the value of care coordination and care planning approaches for people with complex health and sociocultural needs.

Effective Trauma-Informed Care (Unit Code HNO6012)​​

In this unit, students examine the experiences of trauma among people from diverse populations, cultures, and age groups and its impact across the lifespan. Students will analyse the way people, with the lived experience of trauma, report feeling stigmatised, discriminated against and misunderstood. These impacts include emotional dysregulation, substance misuse, self-harm, and suicidal behaviours. Students will also appraise the eight foundational principles of trauma-informed care and practice that focus on modelling interpersonal relationships, working with cultural differences, advocating for consumer control and choice, inspiring hope, supporting recovery, and integrating care. The unit requires students to critically reflect on their practice through a trauma-informed lens and interrogate the importance of recovery-oriented practice when caring for people who have experienced trauma.

Mental Health Nursing (Unit Code HNO6008)​​

This unit will further develop students' professional knowledge and expertise in the effective coordination and delivery of specialised mental health care. Students will focus on understanding mental health disorders and how to effectively care for a person experiencing mental health issues or illness. Students will also gain a deep understanding of the philosophy and theory underpinning mental health care, its values and the specific skills to maintain therapeutic relationships and assist in person-centred health care that promotes recovery and resilience. The unit includes a critical review of psychology, to support a greater understanding of mental health disorders across the lifespan and cultural awareness when supporting patients’ mental health and well-being. Students will also critically review models of self-care when delivering mental health care services across a range of settings. The unit will prepare students to provide evidence-based mental health care in a range of health settings.

Promoting Cultural Competence and Community Health (Unit Code HNO6001)

This unit examines the major concepts and principles of community health promotion including self-care, continuity of care, primary health care, health promotion, illness prevention, community assessment, family assessment and home care. Health promotion is a proven dynamic in disease prevention and maintenance of community health. In this unit you will review the major health issues impacting on national and global health. Australian and World Health Organisation (WHO) health priorities and strategies for optimising community health will be critically reviewed. You will reflect on the role of the nurse in community health promotion within areas of specialisation. You will examine communities with diverse and specific health requirements and health literacy needs to understand how to optimise the success of health promotion strategies. This unit also examines the major concepts and principles of cultural safety and the knowledge and skills required of the nursing profession to work ethically with diverse people and communities, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. Students will examine a health problem in relation to a specific community and design strategies of community health promotion in a specialised area of your choice.

Mental Health in Later Life (Unit Code HNO6013)​

This unit develops the knowledge and skills of students to ethically support diverse older person who are experiencing symptoms of mental illness, by employing person-centred approaches to delivering care. Students critically analyse the notion of ageism and how the lived experience of ageism can affect people's mental health in later life. Another learning focus is the comprehensive biopsychosocial assessment of the older person with complex comorbidities. Students also investigate and differentiate between depression, delirium, and dementia; together with rates of suicide in older populations, and debate the treatment options best suited for the older person who experiences symptoms of mental illness.

Care Coordination in Practice (Unit Code HNO6002)

This unit explores the competencies registered Nurses need to work within inter-professional teams to provide coordinated care for clients with complex needs. The unit investigates strategies for working together effectively; making informed health care decisions and ensuring continuity of care for clients. This unit provides students with essential skills in utilising available resources effectively, health coaching and consultation, and the development of care plans that meet complex care needs. Students will further their skills in client advocacy and anticipatory care management, assessment of risk factors related to decline in a community context and determination of available alternatives for managing risks and balancing the needs and desires of clients. Key themes of the unit include exploring and practising the collection and management of client information across the continuum of services and how to negotiate potential service providers for best care package for client needs, including the management of subcontracted services.

Evidence and Research for Practice (Unit Code HNO6004)

This unit investigates evidence-based research and its application in the healthcare setting. Students will develop and refine their skills in searching and critically reviewing and evaluating available nursing and healthcare research and evidence. Students will also learn to use critical appraisal tools to evaluate qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods research. By examining systematic reviews to clarify how evidence is synthesised, students will critically appraise literature and identify gaps in current knowledge to design and develop research proposals and/or projects.

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Entry requirements

Entry requirements

  • Completed an AQF Level 7 Bachelor of Nursing, or equivalent qualification AND;
  • Registration as a Registered Nurse (Division 1) OR Registered Midwife with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) OR equivalent registration with the relevant registering authority for applicants outside of Australia AND;
  • Completed a minimum of one year of full-time clinical experience, or the part-time equivalent, as a registered nurse and have clinical support in a mental health specialty area OR provide written confirmation from their employer that they are employed in a mental health setting OR;
  • Completed Victoria University’s Graduate Certificate in Mental Health Nursing.

For more information about the units of study, download a brochure.

Units of study

Units of study

For more information about the units of study, download a brochure.

Recovery Oriented Mental Health (Unit Code HNO6010)

In this unit, students critically reflect on the lived experience of mental illness. The students' learning journey begins by examining past institutional abuse of people with mental illness and the continuing effects of stigma across social and diverse cultural contexts. Students analyse the evolution of the mental health consumer movement, focusing on consumer rights, autonomy, self-determination, collaborative decision-making, and strength-based models to support recovery from mental ill-health. Students also interrogate how to support consumers who have complex mental illness or who exhibit challenging behaviours, within a consumer-centred, recovery-oriented framework. Students will also debate the challenges that arise when balancing the diverse needs of consumers and carers in relation to confidentiality, privacy, and disclosure.

Biopsychosocial and Cultural Perspectives in Mental Health (Unit Code HNO6011)

This unit examines biopsychosocial and cultural perspectives of mental illness. This includes the links between serious mental illness, physical health conditions, complex comorbidities, and disability. Students will interrogate the correlation between lower levels of physical health, mental health, and socio-economic indices for people experiencing chronic physical conditions and mental ill-health. Students will also cross-examine the ethical dilemmas and cultural perspectives of mental ill-health for people with diverse experiences, backgrounds, and lifestyles. This includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, culturally and linguistically diverse groups, LGBTQIA+ peoples, veteran groups, and people from metropolitan, regional, rural, and remote communities across Australia. Students will also evaluate the value of care coordination and care planning approaches for people with complex health and sociocultural needs.

Effective Trauma-Informed Care (Unit Code HNO6012)

In this unit, students examine the experiences of trauma among people from diverse populations, cultures, and age groups and its impact across the lifespan. Students will analyse the way people, with the lived experience of trauma, report feeling stigmatised, discriminated against and misunderstood. These impacts include emotional dysregulation, substance misuse, self-harm, and suicidal behaviours. Students will also appraise the eight foundational principles of trauma-informed care and practice that focus on modelling interpersonal relationships, working with cultural differences, advocating for consumer control and choice, inspiring hope, supporting recovery, and integrating care. The unit requires students to critically reflect on their practice through a trauma-informed lens and interrogate the importance of recovery-oriented practice when caring for people who have experienced trauma.

Mental Health Nursing (Unit Code HNO6008)

This unit will further develop students' professional knowledge and expertise in the effective coordination and delivery of specialised mental health care. Students will focus on understanding mental health disorders and how to effectively care for a person experiencing mental health issues or illness. Students will also gain a deep understanding of the philosophy and theory underpinning mental health care, its values and the specific skills to maintain therapeutic relationships and assist in person-centred health care that promotes recovery and resilience. The unit includes a critical review of psychology, to support a greater understanding of mental health disorders across the lifespan and cultural awareness when supporting patients’ mental health and well-being. Students will also critically review models of self-care when delivering mental health care services across a range of settings. The unit will prepare students to provide evidence-based mental health care in a range of health settings.

Promoting Cultural Competence and Community Health (Unit Code HNO6001)

This unit examines the major concepts and principles of community health promotion including self-care, continuity of care, primary health care, health promotion, illness prevention, community assessment, family assessment and home care. Health promotion is a proven dynamic in disease prevention and maintenance of community health. In this unit you will review the major health issues impacting on national and global health. Australian and World Health Organisation (WHO) health priorities and strategies for optimising community health will be critically reviewed. You will reflect on the role of the nurse in community health promotion within areas of specialisation. You will examine communities with diverse and specific health requirements and health literacy needs to understand how to optimise the success of health promotion strategies. This unit also examines the major concepts and principles of cultural safety and the knowledge and skills required of the nursing profession to work ethically with diverse people and communities, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. Students will examine a health problem in relation to a specific community and design strategies of community health promotion in a specialised area of your choice.

Mental Health in Later Life (Unit Code HNO6013)

This unit develops the knowledge and skills of students to ethically support diverse older person who are experiencing symptoms of mental illness, by employing person-centred approaches to delivering care. Students critically analyse the notion of ageism and how the lived experience of ageism can affect people's mental health in later life. Another learning focus is the comprehensive biopsychosocial assessment of the older person with complex comorbidities. Students also investigate and differentiate between depression, delirium, and dementia; together with rates of suicide in older populations, and debate the treatment options best suited for the older person who experiences symptoms of mental illness.

Care Coordination in Practice (Unit Code HNO6002)

This unit explores the competencies registered Nurses need to work within inter-professional teams to provide coordinated care for clients with complex needs. The unit investigates strategies for working together effectively; making informed health care decisions and ensuring continuity of care for clients. This unit provides students with essential skills in utilising available resources effectively, health coaching and consultation, and the development of care plans that meet complex care needs. Students will further their skills in client advocacy and anticipatory care management, assessment of risk factors related to decline in a community context and determination of available alternatives for managing risks and balancing the needs and desires of clients. Key themes of the unit include exploring and practising the collection and management of client information across the continuum of services and how to negotiate potential service providers for best care package for client needs, including the management of subcontracted services.

Evidence and Research for Practice (Unit Code HNO6004)

This unit investigates evidence-based research and its application in the healthcare setting. Students will develop and refine their skills in searching and critically reviewing and evaluating available nursing and healthcare research and evidence. Students will also learn to use critical appraisal tools to evaluate qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods research. By examining systematic reviews to clarify how evidence is synthesised, students will critically appraise literature and identify gaps in current knowledge to design and develop research proposals and/or projects.

Career options

Career outcomes

With VU Online’s Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Nursing, you’ll enhance your knowledge and skills in evidence-based assessment and intervention approaches in mental health to take up senior mental health services positions. This course positions you to take on mental health care coordination roles, leadership roles in mental health nursing or roles in community mental health services.

You will also be able to progress towards credentialing with the ACMHN.

Upon completion, you can continue your studies to gain your Master of Mental Health Nursing.

For more information about career outcomes, download a brochure.

Student Support & Fees

Student Support

VU Online provides you with the academic support you need, when you need it, throughout the course. With four layers of student support, our goal is to ensure you succeed in your studies. Our highly experienced academics understand how to deliver a quality online learning experience and are responsive and accessible.

You will also have access to a dedicated Student Success Advisor, who provides motivation and 1:1 personalised assistance with non-academic matters for the duration of the course. You will experience the support of a community through chat, virtual seminars and discussion board activity. Your support network is only a phone call or email away.

FEES and FEE-HELP

Our Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Nursing costs $2,600 - $2,700 per unit*. The total cost for all eight units is $21,200.

FEE-HELP loans are available to assist eligible full-fee paying students with the cost of a university course. This Government loan scheme helps to pay for all or part of their tuition.

*2022 student fees are shown and are subject to change.

For more information on fees and student support, download a brochure.

Online study

This degree is offered through VU Online’s postgraduate Block Model, winner of the LearnX Live! Award 2021 ‘Best Online Learning Model’.

Instead of taking two or three units a semester, you will study one unit at a time in six study periods per year. This offers you more flexibility than traditional on-campus degrees and the opportunity to immerse yourself in your study.

At VU Online, we take a personalised 1:1 approach to online learning, which makes learning with us highly interactive and supported.

Frequently asked questions

Is the Master of Mental Health Nursing accredited?

No, however our Master of Mental Health Nursing and Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Nursing meet the education requirements for the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN) Credential.

Do I need to have experience working in mental health nursing?

To gain entry to this course, you are required to have clinical support in a mental halth specialty area or provide written confirmation from your employer that you are employed in a mental health setting. Please see Entry Requirements above for more information.

Is mental health nursing a good career option?

Yes, according to the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN), Australia has a shortage of mental health nurses and there is a high demand for professionals who can meet the growing needs of the population. "Mental health nursing would suit someone who really wants to make a difference and work with some of the most vulnerable members of our society. Mental health nursing can be very rewarding," says ACMHN President Dr Mike Hazelton.

Is the MBA globally recognised?

Yes, and we are also ranked among the world’s top 2% of universities.

What can I do with a Master of Mental Health Nursing from VU Online?

This course will empower you with the skills to take on mental health care coordination roles, leadership roles in mental health nursing, roles in mental health services, roles in senior mental health services or sessional academic work. It will also allow you to fulfill the education requirements for the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN) Credential.

Why study a Master of Mental Health Nursing with VU Online?

VU Online's Master of Mental Health Nursing will empower you with specialised skills so you can build on your nursing practice and gain a holistic understanding of mental health. You will be able to work in multidisciplinary teams, apply contemporary care approaches and create transformational change. You will also fulfill the education requirements for the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN) Credential.

In addition, VU Online's postgraduate Block Model allows you to study one unit at a time so you can manage study alongside work and other commitments. You'll have access to support seven days a week and in the evenings, so you can achieve your goals.

What is the difference between the Master of Mental Health Nursing and Master of Mental Health at VU Online?

Our Master of Mental Health Nursing is for registered nurses who want to build a specialist mental health nursing practice and improve outcomes for patients. Our Master of Mental Health is for allied health and social care professionals who want to apply contemporary approaches to mental health to their role.

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