Notre Dame helps head start in Mental Health

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Fall 16-3-2011

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle Campus

Publication Place



A program created for student health professionals to prepare them in mental health care has seen a unique collaboration between health care and tertiary education providers in Western Australia.

In mid November 2009, the Increased Clinical Training Capacity (ICTC) Program was offered by the Department of Health and Ageing to provide one-off immediate relief to clinical training capacity constraints for entry level health professionals. The Marian Centre, a stand-alone private psychiatric service,successfully tendered and won a Federal Government grant under this initiative.

The program they developed is designed to prepare students to enter their mental health clinical practice with more confidence and encourage a positive experience. This innovation has resulted in a first for Western Australia where all five universities have collaborated on providing a mental health education program in conjunction with the Marian Centre.

Dean of Notre Dame’s School of Nursing, Fremantle, Professor Selma Alliex represented the University at the launch. Professor Alliex said that it was a significant occasion as the Fremantle School of Nursing had been working closely with the Marian Centre since their successful submission in 2010 for the Health Workforce Australia’s Innovative Clinical Teaching and Training Grant.

“The project’s aim was to develop and implement a mental health training package that would be interdisciplinary. Notre Dame was the first university to offer its nursing students for the trial with the other four universities then invited to participate.

Notre Dame Masters of Counselling student and program facilitator, Ms Alida Cubbage, said if students were better prepared for their rotation they would be more likely to have a positive experience and consider working in mental health as a career.

“The aim of the program is to positively promote mental health and the satisfaction that can be gained working in this specialised area, with its own unique challenges and rewards.

“As the prevalence of mental illness grows, for example one in four people have been diagnosed with some form of mental illness; the area of service need also grows. One may ask ‘Who will be there to care?’” questioned Ms Cubbage.

The program has the full support from the Commissioner of Mental Health, who identified these types of programs as a positive move in delivering care in the mental health sector.

Media Contact: Michelle Ebbs (+61) 8 9433 0610, Mob (+61) 0408 959 138