Community Mental Health Work

The last CMHW intake requiring HLSC 612/HLSC 613 as a pre-requisite will be May 2021. The last official start date for HLSC 612/HLSC 613 will be January 4, 2021/March 1, 2021 respectively. Students can begin the course after this date but will have only until May 4, 2021 (HLSC 612)/May 1, 2021 (HLSC 613) to complete the course. No extensions will be available for any students beginning on or after January 4th, 2021/March 1, 2021.


Admission Information:

Currently, Douglas College is only accepting applications for the Health Care Assisting portion of the Health Care Support Work program via the BC Health Career Access program.  For those interested in Health Care Assisting please submit your expression of interest at  

For those interested in the Community Mental Health Work portion of the program should apply directly to the Community Mental Health Certificate.  Community Mental Health is currently accepting applications via Education Planner BC.

Health Sciences
Health Care Support Work
Length of Program
One semester
Credential Type
Learning Format
Admission Type
Limited Enrolment


In the Community Mental Health Worker (CMHW) Certificate Program, students learn to apply the principles of recovery using Psychosocial Rehabilitation (PSR). Students gain knowledge and skills in assisting individuals with mental health issues to maximize their independence. Students also learn to lead group sessions on health, wellness, managing symptoms and setting boundaries.

NOTE: International students are not currently eligible for this program. For more information, contact Douglas College International.

Program Requirements

Curriculum Framework

Graduation Requirements:

  •  Successful completion of 12.75 credits
  •  25% (4 credits) of all coursework must be completed at Douglas College *

*Effective for Summer 2017 graduation, a minimum of 50% of the required program courses must be taken at Douglas College.

Course Requirements:

Course Number Course Title Credits

HCSW 1170

Concepts for Mental Health Practice 


HCSW 1180

Recovery in Mental Health


HCSW 1190

Therapeutic Relationships in Mental Health


HCSW 1195

Clinical Practice I for CMHWs


HCSW 1200

Clinical Practice II for CMHWs


Total Credits



Admissions Requirements

Applicants must meet the admission requirements listed below:

General College Admission Requirements

FoodSafe Level 1

Academic Requirements:

Native English speakers (apply to individuals who have a minimum of 7 years of education in an English-speaking environment*)

Non-native English speakers


English 11 or equivalent


Standardized English Language proficiency test score

1. Evidence of one of the following:

    - Proof of completion of Grade 11 English with minimum of a C grade; OR

    - Accuplacer:
         Grade 11 level or higher
         Reading Comprehension: 65
         Write placer: 4

2. Completion of Douglas College Self- Declaration Form

Evidence of one of the following test scores:

1.  The Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL): test must be within the last two years- minimum score of 80

2.  International English Language Testing System (IELTS): Academic or General- test must be within the last two years- minimum overall score of 6 with no band lower than 6

3.  Canadian Language Benchmark Placement Test (CLB PT): test must be taken within the past six months: Minimum test scores: Listening 8, Speaking 8, Reading 7 and Writing 7

4.  Canadian Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL): test must be within the last two years- minimum overall score of 60


*Countries with English language systems/ intuitions(Where English is a primary, official language and the language used for education)

American Samoa
British Virgin Islands Cayman Island

Falkland Islands
Irish Republic

New Zealand
South Africa
St. Kitts and Nevis
St. Lucia
St. Vincent
Trinidad and Tobago
Turks and Caico Islands

United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland)
United States of America (USA)
US Virgin Islands

*Applicants educated in Quebec at an institution where the language of instruction was not English, must meet the current English Language proficiency requirements.

Upon Offer: 

  • A Criminal Record Check from the Ministry of Justice, including clearance to work with vulnerable adults will be required.  This must be done through Douglas College. Specific Instructions will be provided by the program Admissions Officer.
  • Complete an Informed Medical Suitability Declaration (to be completed on Douglas College Form) and a physician's note may be required.
  • Submit a current record of immunity or immunization for Hepatitis B.
  • Submit proof of negative TB skin test or chest X-ray, taken within 4 months prior to starting the program and classes. This may need to be repeated if student was tested more than six months prior to the first clinical experience, or as required by Health Regions.


  • We strongly recommend you attend an information session.
  • A personal interview with the Program Coordinator may be requested.

Program Outcomes:

Students who successfully complete the Community Mental Health Work Certificate, who do not have a Douglas College Health Care Assisting (HCA) Certificate or who are not eligible for a Health Care Support Work Certificate having not completed the CMHW certificate within three years of entry into the HCA program, will graduate with a Community Mental Health Worker Certificate.

Students who successfully complete the Community Mental Health Work Certificate and who are eligible for a Health Care Support Work Certificate, having completed a Douglas College Health Care Assisting (HCA) Certificate and the CMHW certificate within three years of entry into the HCA program, will graduate with a Health Care Support Work Certificate.


You can get an average cost for your program - tuition and student fees, books, uniforms, lab fees etc - on the Program Cost page. 

Only programs approved for student loan funding are listed on the Program Cost page. For all other programs, refer to the Tuition Fee page.

Career Pathways

According to an employment survey conducted by the Institutional Research and Planning Department, close to 100 percent of graduates of the Community Mental Health Worker Program are employed in the field. In fact, many students have commitments of employment before they finish their studies. Graduates are able to apply the principles of Psychosocial Rehabilitation (PSR) to assist individuals with mental health issues to maximize their independence. They work in a variety of settings, including care facilities, day treatment centres and group homes.

Program Guidelines

Program Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this program and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the program, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

More Information

Personal traits which help a student succeed in this program include:

  • Sensitivity to the needs of others
  • Ability to problem-solve effectively in a limited time span
  • Ability to manage time effectively and handle responsibility
  • Ability to perform basic home management and cooking skills
  • Ability to speak confidently with people of all ages
  • Ability to develop self-awareness
  • Ability to be self-directed in their own learning
  • Ability to be flexible

Special academic requirements

These requirements apply to all program options. See individual program options for additional program requirements.
  • Standard First Aid and CPR Level C certificate is required prior to first clinical placement.
Health Region On-line Orientation (Student Practice Education Core Orientation) completion is required prior to first clinical placement. Information will be provided during program orientation.

NOTE: A driver’s license allowing unaccompanied vehicle operation and access to a vehicle are strongly recommended.

Tuition deposit

When offered a full-time seat in this program a non-refundable, non-transferable $350 tuition deposit is required.