Community Mental Health & Addictions Worker

Are you looking for a rewarding career where you can make a difference in the lives of people struggling with mental health and addictions issues? Consider a career as a Community Mental Health & Addictions Worker.

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    Delivery Method

    Delivery Method: In-Class

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    Duration: 60 weeks, including an 8-week practicum

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    Starts: Twice per year (April and October)

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    Credential: Diploma

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    Wages: Up to $20.71/hour

Are you looking for a rewarding career where you can make a difference in the lives of people struggling with mental health and addictions issues? Consider a career as a Community Mental Health & Addictions Worker.

Community Mental Health and Addictions Workers assist individuals with mental health, housing and addiction challenges by encouraging and supporting them in their daily lives.

The Community Mental Health & Addictions Worker program is unique, offering both theory and hands-on experience, and is a true collaboration with partners Lookout Emergency Aid Society; and Portland Hotel Society (PHS) – two agencies supporting persons with mental health and addictions issues. Stenberg’s Community Mental Health & Addictions Worker program includes a weekly in-field experience component, allowing students to become comfortable in the environment and apply their classroom learning in real-life situations.

Stenberg College is accredited by the BC government’s Ministry of Advanced Education through the Private Training Institutions Branch (PTIB).

PTIB is responsible for setting standards of quality and ensuring consumer protection. Stenberg College has also received the BC government’s Education Quality Assurance (EQA) designation which is BC’s brand or “seal” of quality post-secondary education for both public and private institutions.

All of our programs are developed in collaboration with industry to meet their needs which is why our graduates are so successful.

Over 92% of our graduates are employed in their field of study within 6 months of graduation.

As a Community Mental Health & Addictions Worker, you’ll you’ll be qualified for employment as a: Social Service Worker, Mental Health Worker, Drop-in Worker, Outreach Worker, Community Liaison Worker, Addictions Worker, Shelter Resource Worker, Employment Resource Worker, Employment Counsellor, Case Manager, Tenant Support Worker and more.

Based on employment statistics gathered by Stenberg College, the wage range of Community Mental Health & Addictions Workers is from $14.40 – $20.71 per hour depending on experience and location.

  • Completion of Grade 12 or mature student status
  • Passing Stenberg College Entrance Examination
  • Passing Stenberg College Entrance Interview
  • Successful completion of a short written essay
  • Passing Verbal Test of English if English is a Second Language
  • Evidence of a minimum of 12 volunteer hours (community support / street level service experience)
  • A minimum of 2 years of sobriety for those with addiction issues
  • Completion of a Criminal Record Consent Form under the Criminal Record Review Act

Prior to Program Admission, Program Advisors will outline practice education requirements for the program. Upon enrollment, students will be informed of next steps and timelines. Non-compliance could result in program dismissal. Requirements for practice education placements include:

  • Acceptable Criminal Record Search under the Criminal Record Review Act
  • Proof of Immunity Status as required by industry
  • Acceptable Medical Examination Form completed by a Physician

Program Advisors will work with students to obtain the following:

  • Proof of 12 volunteer or paid hours in community support / street level service experience
  • Reference letter stating suitability to work with mental health clients

NB: Additional criteria may be required to fulfill industry guidelines; students will be informed in advance of any requirements that need to be fulfilled for placements

Please click the course title below to scroll to the course description:

Orientation and Student Success Skills

This course will provide a comprehensive orientation to the program and will establish effective study skills. As with all new things, there will be some challenges to overcome; however, with this course, you will become familiar with your new environment and the resources available for your use. You will gain effective learning and study strategies; become familiar with course and research online resources; enhance reading and writing skills; participate in activities to increase self-awareness, communication, and accountability; and develop teamwork skills.

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Professional Communications in Mental Health & Addictions

In this course you will learn theoretical and practical skills to promote effective communication with clients and co-workers in a helping relationship. By the end of the course, you will demonstrate an awareness of your own communication style and be able to use techniques such as empathy, active listening, probing and conflict resolution. Team building, decision- making, and planning will be explored from a care-based perspective.

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Computer Fundamentals & Application Training

This course is designed to provide you with the computer skills required to work in a fast- paced environment. Throughout the course, you will use a simulated program to improve proficiency with the Internet, Windows environment, and Microsoft Office (Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint).

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Creating the Safe Environment & Self Care: Setting Boundaries, Staying healthy & Dealing with Vicarious Trauma

This course introduces you to basic workplace safety necessary for employment in housing and/or social services. There is a certain degree of risk inherent to providing low barrier services to people who live every day in the face of enormous emotional pain, are often actively addicted, live with mental health issues, and are experiencing homelessness, poverty and social marginalization. You will become familiar with the three main domains of safety for yourself and your clients.

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Integrated Practice Experience

Throughout your coursework, you will have integrated practice experiences so that you can form questions and build connections and familiarity with the material you are learning in your coursework. You will gain experience in many different settings for these integrated sessions and will keep an electronic journal to reflect on what you have learned.

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Introduction to Communities & Wellbeing

This course provides an introduction into society, what it is, how it functions, what are its components and how does society affect our health and well-being? You will be introduced to the concept of social capital, identity, livability and dislocation in relation to their impact on health and community.

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Social Inequality, Health & Power I, II, & III

You will be introduced to the social determinants of health and structural violence as a means to explore how power imbalances influence health. You will look at both global health imbalances as well as local health inequalities. You will challenge your own understanding of poverty in Canada as well as popular narratives around poverty and homelessness. You will be asked to collect newspaper clippings regarding poverty and homelessness over the course of the first 10 weeks of the course. Articles may be from physical newspapers or web-based but should be from mainstream media sources.

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Understanding Poverty: Economics vs. Experience, What’s the Difference?

This course re-addresses issues discussed in Sociology 101 with a more detailed look at the experience of the working poor, housing and housing affordability in urban areas. You will receive an overview of the housing policy as well as become familiar with different housing types and possible solutions.

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Comparative National Housing Strategies

Is housing a right?Canada is the only G-8 country without a national housing strategy. This course investigates the national housing strategies of the United States, Great Britain and other European countries and develops a framework for a national housing strategy for Canada. You will use current discourses on housing rights in Canada as a platform for discussion. Specifically you will become familiar with the Victoria v. Adams Case, 2008 BCSC 1363, social movements such as the Red Tent Campaign and how theories on addiction affect an individual’s right to housing.

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Human Development Across the Lifespan

Understanding human development is basic to therapeutic practice and is essential for all work with clients. The first section in this course will focus on child development from pre-birth through to age 12 years; historical perspectives, theories and methods give students an understanding about early childhood studies, ethical issues and approaches to child study. Influences upon the developing child are studied and you will be able to establish guidelines for the role of the practitioner. The focus for this course is on adolescence and the adult years. Topics in the adolescence to adulthood section of the course will include puberty, independence, coupling, aging and death and dying.

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Mental Health, Concurrent Disorders & Psychosocial Rehabilitation

This course introduces you to a brief history of psychiatry and its relationship to power. You will explore the broad history of psychiatry as well as a targeted examination of the history of psychiatry, deinstitutionalization and “re-institutionalization” in British Columbia. You will also learn to identify the most common mental health issues and apply the Psychosocial Rehabilitation model that supports, fosters and motivates client choices in their day-to-day lives. This course allows you to discover specific mental health services and providers, and to identify how legal issues impact the delivery of mental health services. In addition, you will build your awareness on providing treatment to people with concurrent disorders.

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Marginalized Youth

Street youth are distinct from the adult homeless population in at least two major ways. Namely, the cause of their homelessness is different; and secondly, street youth typically lack the experience and resources required to live independently. In this course, you will examine marginalized youth and the services and programs that are offered for this distinct population. Effective approaches and skills in youth coaching will also be discussed during this course.

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Life Skills Mentoring – Individually or in Groups

Life Skills are problem-solving behaviors appropriately and responsibly used in the management of personal affairs. The purpose of Life Skills training is to assist individuals to think through problems for themselves and to make their own decisions. The intent of the training is to increase a person’s freedom of choice. The emphasis is on personal learning, which includes an ability to manage one’s life effectively and with more confidence. In its truest sense, Life Skills training involves behaviour change (and accompanying change in attitude), new ways of interacting, of thinking and of problem-solving. Based on the NewStart Life Skills model, this course prepares you to develop Life Skills lessons and to facilitate groups, model and evaluate skills and support individualized learning with marginalized groups and individuals.

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Urban Poverty, Aboriginal History, Cultural Implications and Impact

This course is divided into two components. The first explores Aboriginal history in Canada, BC and Vancouver while the second part of the course focuses more specifically on the history of the urban poverty in the Lower Mainland context. A discussion about homelessness in BC and Canada cannot occur without addressing the particular issues of Aboriginal homelessness. An explanation of Aboriginal homelessness must consider the historical and colonial legacy that has impacted families, communities and an Aboriginal way of life. First Nations people in Canada did not have the right to vote in Federal Elections until 1960, whereas Native Americans in the United States have been allowed to vote since the 1920s. Through film, literature and first person narrations, this course explores the treatment of Aboriginal people in Canada. This course will look at issues of urban poverty, changing job markets, ghettos, and gentrification.

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Gender, Power & Poverty

This course examines the relationship between gender and poverty. Topics such as Prostitution, resources for Women, Women and Addiction, First Nations Women, and Women & Abuse will be covered.

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Health in the Areas of Urban Poverty

This course is broadly divided into two areas: chronic illness and the emergence or reemergence of infectious disease. You will gain an introductory understanding of the health complications common in areas of urban poverty, among drug and alcohol users, and the working poor. You will also be asked to examine access to health care and the role that stigma and discrimination plays in health care delivery.

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Drug Policies, Theories of Addiction and a History of the Four Pillars Approach

This course examines theories of addictions and how the development of these theories has and continues to influence drug policy in different jurisdictions. The course provides a critical examination of the development and implementation of policies that support or challenge harm reduction; compares national/international drug policy and the 4 Pillars Drug Strategy Framework.

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Motivational Interviewing

This course introduces you to the concepts and practices of motivational interviewing. You will explore best practices in motivational interviewing, building motivation for change, and strengthening commitment to change. This course also contains specific information on motivational interviewing for groups, youth, criminal justice populations, and mental health disorders. You will learn, step-by-step how to practice core MI skills: raising the importance of behaviour change, fostering the client’s confidence, resolving ambivalence, solidifying commitment to change, and negotiating a change plan. You will learn to use micro skills that many clinicians already know: open-ended questions, affirmations, reflective listening and summaries, or OARS for short. In addition to videos, classroom presentations, and small group role plays, the textbook/workbook is packed with real-world examples from a range of clinical settings, as well as sample interactions and hands-on learning activities.

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Seeking Safety: Treatment for PTSD & Substance Abuse

After furthering your’ understanding of addictions, this course focuses on how to help people attain safety from trauma, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse. The treatment topic areas discussed in this course will provide practical and flexible information via client handouts and guidance for clinicians. Treatment discussed will involve both group and individual formats, will be for women, men and mixed-gender and will relate to a variety of settings (outpatient, inpatient, residential

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Assessment & Resources

In addition to gaining a working knowledge of the screening and assessment tools used in mental health and addictions, this course shows how to utilize resources and make the best use of local treatment and support services. Particular emphasis will be placed on suicide assessment and prevention, particularly in the First Nation’s community.

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Basic Pharmacology in Mental Health & Substance Abuse

This course focuses on the basic pharmacology of mental health problems and substance use. It is for front-line workers, care providers, case managers and clinicians working in mental health and substance use programs, residential hotels and detox settings. Topic areas covered include pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, how neurotransmitters work, and the effects of psychiatric medications and substance use on the brain. You will learn the fundamentals of safe medication delivery and the protocols of withdrawal management.

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Ethics & Case Management

This course was designed for community-based health service providers who train, employ or work as case managers. Its intent is to create consistency across diverse educational and experiential backgrounds in case management. This course will assist you in developing the requisite attitudes, knowledge and skills to work an effective case manager

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Understanding Government Agencies/Resources & Policy Recommendations

This course will help you understand Social Services’ policies, procedures and resources so you can better assist and advocate for your clients in navigating the system. In the last week of the course you will be expected to draw on everything learned throughout your different courses to explore and make policy recommendations that fill the gaps in service delivery. You will present these policy suggestions to the class and as a policy briefing report.

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Career Search Strategies

This course is offered in combined online and classroom delivery format. You will learn to network effectively (online and in person), to search and apply for jobs and to prepare targeted resumes and cover letters. You will also be provided with coaching and individualized instructor feedback on your resume, cover letter and interview skills.

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Consolidated Practice Experience

During the two 4 week consolidated practice experiences, you will be provided with an opportunity to apply knowledge and skills in a community mental health setting. Placements may be in following areas: Shelters, Transitional Housing, Single Residential Occupancy Hotels, Supportive Permanent Housing, Outreach Programs, Life Skills Services, Recreation and Wellness Programs, Food programs and/or Health Service Centres.

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Please click the course title below to scroll to the course description.

Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System

WHMIS provides information about materials in the workplace that can be hazardous, such as cleaning agents, compressed gases and flammable materials. Becoming WHMIS certified will demonstrate that you are able to identify hazardous materials and handle them properly.

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You’ll learn how to prepare food in a way that protects customers from injury or illness. Some of the topics covered are food-borne diseases, personal hygiene and safe procedures for storing.

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Standard First Aid – CPR Level HCP

You’ll receive Red Cross Standard First Aid Certification including Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), Health Care Provider (HCP) and Automated External Defibrillation (AED). This industry standard certification is valid for three years.

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Managing Hostile Interactions

Hostile incidents are clearly on the increase in society today and more people find themselves presented with personally hurtful, intimidating hostile behaviour. Dealing effectively with hostile individuals takes energy and the careful application of a specific range of skills. In this certificate course, you will learn to manage your own conduct, defuse the person, and then address the problem.

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Medication Awareness for Mental Health & Addictions Workers

You will learn the fundamentals of safe medication delivery and how medications interact and work in the body. You will also be introduced to the Medication Administration Record (MAR). There will be focused coverage on withdrawal management protocols and how to support clients in residential hotels and detox situations.

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Body Mechanics & Back Safety

You will be educated in proper body movement to prevent and correct poor posture, reduce stress on ligaments, joints and tendons and enhance physical capabilities. Proper body mechanics and back safety will enhance the longevity and success in the workplace and will help ensure that transfers and positioning are done in a manner that is safe and appropriate for everyone. Please note: While this training follows best practices, graduates may also be required to learn and follow workplace specific protocols.

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Personal & Professional Development Skills Certificate

Responding carefully to the needs of today’s employers, a series of Personal and Professional Development Workshops have been integrated throughout the program to develop critical thinking and soft skills. Workshops include Giving and Receiving Feedback, Conflict Resolutions, Active Listening, Providing Quality Service and Building Rapport, Leadership, and Employability Skills.

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Aseptic Techniques

This workshop introduces you to personal protective equipment, teaches proper hand washing techniques and prepares you to work in a sanitary environment. This workshop is delivered both self-directed online and instructor led in lab. There are approximately two hours of materials for you to go through prior to the lab component. These materials include readings and videos which you will work through on your own at home. During lab, an instructor will take you through the hands-on practice component.
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You could be eligible for Employment Insurance funding for education, government student loans, as well as other financing options; the Stenberg College Financial Aid Officer would be happy to provide further assistance.