Foster hope, support recovery and build resilience. Focus on mental health and addiction issues. Learn about interventions and treatments, building relationships and developing wellbeing. Understand relevant legislation and the role of support workers. Designed for those working in the sector.

The New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Social and Community Services) uses blended learning methods for delivery that combines face to face, online delivery and work-integrated learning. Students attend the polytechnic three days per course, with the remaining hours completed in the work place. Workplace hours are a minimum of 18 hours per week and independent study is approximately nine hours per week.

Programme outline

Whitireia offers the Mental Health and Addiction strand consisting of the following courses:

Trimester 1

Whānaungatanga Building Relationships (30 credits)

This course develops skills and knowledge to enable students to build effective professional relationships with people, families and whānau, and community networks in a health or social service setting. Students demonstrate an understanding of socio-cultural and historical factors that impact on health and/or social outcomes. Students reflect on their use of appropriate communication strategies that are respectful of diversity and that demonstrate working in partnership with others.

Leadership and Cultural Responsiveness (30 credits)

This course develops skills and knowledge to enable students to provide culturally responsive care and advocate appropriately. Students demonstrate an understanding of their role in quality improvement and its impact on improving health and wellbeing. Students reflect on their own personal leadership and their ability to influence effective teamwork to work alongside and promote self-management and health literacy people, families and whānau.

Trimester 2

Understanding Mental Health and Addiction (30 credits)

This course develops the skills and knowledge to enable students to demonstrate the ability to work effectively as a mental health and addiction support worker. Students will demonstrate an understanding of human development and health conditions relevant to mental health and addiction practice. Students will reflect on the tools and strategies used to foster hope, support recovery and build resilience.

Safety and Practice in Mental Health and Addiction Support (30 credits)

This course develops skills and knowledge that enables students to protect and promote the health and wellbeing of people, whānau and families engaged in a mental health and addiction setting. Students demonstrate an understanding of advocacy relevant to working with people, whānau and/or family accessing mental health addiction services. Students reflect on ethical and legal implications related to their role.


Entry criteria

NCEA Level 1 or equivalent; employment or voluntary work in related field for a minimum of three days/18 hours/week with evidence of manager support; evidence of suitability based on employer’s support/referees and safety checks, to meet relevant legislation.

International students

Proven equivalence to domestic entry requirements and IELTS 6.0 (no band lower than 5.5), or equivalent.

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