Curtin University has introduced an Indigenous Clinical Mental Health Practitioner degree course to educate and support Indigenous students to become registered mental health practitioners specialising in Indigenous clinical mental health.
Run through Curtin’s Centre for Aboriginal Studies (CAS), the course prepares students to work within a mental health clinic, hospital or facility, treating and caring for Indigenous people with a mental illness. The course is available to people of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent and is also open to 10 non-Indigenous students each year.
Mrs Trish Hill-Wall, CAS, said the program involved practical assessments, hands on delivery and theoretical frameworks with a focus on psychology and child development.
“In a student’s second and third year, they are required to complete a 10 week practicum placement in an aged care facility, adolescent mental health facility and a mental health clinical facility,” Mrs Hill-Wall said.
“This is an empowering opportunity for Indigenous students as they have the opportunity to learn about the behavioural science of the disorder, treatment and the recovery process of patients with mental illnesses.
“It is important for the Indigenous Clinical Mental Health Practitioner students to support Indigenous people in a proactive manner and the course offers practical solutions in-line with the best care and treatment practices under the Mental Health Act 2014.
“As far as I am aware, this course is the first of its kind in Australia and will enable Indigenous Clinically Registered Practitioners, approved by the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia, to recommend, refer and liaise with psychiatrists and clinical psychologists.
The course commences in 2016 and all students need to hold a Community Services Certificate IV in Mental Health and/or a Community Services Diploma in Mental Health or complete an invigilated “Entry by Assessment” to qualify for entry into this degree.
The second intake for the course will be available on April 11 and will commence in semester 2 2016.
For further information regarding the Indigenous Clinical Mental Health Practitioner course visit https://karda.curtin.edu.au/index.cfm.