Mental Health Minister launches new acute mental health tertiary qualification

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Winter 3-8-2010

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle Campus

Publication Place



The Honourable Dr Graham Jacobs, Minister for Water; Mental Health, launched a new Graduate Certificate in Acute Mental Health at the South Metro Area Health Service (SMAHS) in July.

A result of collaboration between Ms Debbie Nelson, Nursing Director SMAHS and Dean of The University of Notre Dame Australia’s Fremantle School of Nursing, Professor Selma Alliex, the course has seen 31 participants enrol.

Open to all mental health staff, the first intake included occupational therapists, social workers and nurses all working in front-line areas of acute and emergency mental health.

In her welcome, Dr Elizabeth Moore, Executive Director, Mental Health explained that this is the first time mental health workers in WA have had the opportunity to undertake post graduate education to further their qualifications.

“This is a new way of offering staff academic qualifications in their chosen field,” said Dr Moore.

She emphasised the collaborative approach of industry and academia was the best outcome for patients.

In his speech launching the new initiative, Dr Jacobs said the service (Mental Health) is no better than the people on the ground.

“People delivering care need the heart for it, and then the clinical knowledge,” he said. “This new certificate will complement practical skills,” he said.

“This course is providing essential professional training to staff across all disciplines in mental health.”

He congratulated Notre Dame and SMAHS for the collaboration and acknowledged that their success has inspired the Northern Metro Mental Area Health Service to also introduce professional development opportunity to their staff.

Ruby Fleck, Special Projects and Staff Development Nurse Educator Mental Health, at Bentley Health Service, is enrolled in the course and spoke at the launch.

“My passion for mental health nursing focuses on how I can create change towards improved patient care through staff education,” said Ms Fleck.

“The Graduate Certificate in Acute Mental Health at Notre Dame is particularly unique in that it links the mental health academic world to the ‘actual’ mental health coalface.”

Professor Alliex said the certificate was a great stride in the direction of giving health care professionals specialist qualifications that could lead to further education perhaps to doctoral level.

“This co-badged course will enable students undertaking it to enrol and graduate from Notre Dame,” she explained.

“The study units of Contemporary Mental Health Practice, Interpersonal Communication, Managing a Metal Health Area and the Expanded Roles of Mental Health Practitioner in Emergency/Acute Psychiatry demonstrates that this content is appropriate across all mental health settings and more importantly it is applicable to all health professionals working in mental health areas.”

Media Contact:

Michelle Ebbs
9433 0610 040 8959 138