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Why study with SCU Online?


Pathway to becoming a credentialled Mental Health Nurse


No.1 in Australia for Nursing overall Educational Experience*


Learn from clinically experienced academics


Gain immediately implementable skills 


Online study seamlessly fits into shiftwork


Course is accredited by the ACMHN


Dedicated one-on-one support

*(Good Universities Guide 2023)

Download a course guide

With more detailed information specific to your course and field of study, including:

  • Full course information and entry requirements
  • Tips for online study success
  • Career opportunities and salaries information
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Quick facts


16 months part-time*

Study mode

100% online


Jan, Mar, May, July, Aug, Oct




$2,658 per unit, FEE-HELP available

*completion time dependent on individual study path and course availability. Please speak to a Student Advisor for more information.

Enhance your nursing practice

The online Graduate Diploma of Mental Health Nursing will build your understanding of how to effectively respond to people experiencing a range of mental health challenges. Mental health is a growing issue, so this qualification will help to prepare you for a variety of roles within public and private nursing and healthcare settings.

You will learn from leading and clinically active mental health nurse academics; and access current and clinically relevant, evidence-based coursework through a responsive and interactive learning environment. Our course has accreditation under the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN) and upon completion, you can use your new qualification as part of the requirements to become a credentialed mental health nurse. 

nurse smiling
Learning outcomes

Holistic mental health treatment

Gain the skills to be well-rounded mental health professional with the ability to work in a variety of mental health roles. 


Contemporary mental health focus

Learn from clinically active academics and gain a contemporary understanding of emerging trends in mental health care. 


Develop an evidence-based practice

Develop skills through evidence-based theories and knowledge that can be applied immediately in practice or hospital setting. 

What you will study

The units that form part of the online mental health post-grad courses have been designed to develop the skills required for nurses to effectively respond to challenges within the field of mental health. You will learn to enhance your own practice, with the most up-to-date and clinically relevant knowledge embedded throughout the coursework. To gain your Graduate Diploma of Mental Health Nursing, you will need to complete all core units, listed in more detail below.

This unit will expose you to critical exploration and practical application of the core contexts of mental health within the Australian healthcare system. 

Read more

This unit explores the experiences of people with complex mental health presentations, co-morbidity and risk behaviours. 

Read more 

This unit introduces you to an evidence-based approach to health practice. 

Read more

In this unit, you will reflect on your own professional practice and learning, planning strategies to collect, select and reflect on evidence to include in a professional portfolio.

Read more

This unit emphasises the life stage and bio-psycho-social contexts specifically related to providing effective engagement and interventions with children, adolescents and older persons. 

Read more 

Enhance your understanding and capability of mental health to ensure patient physical health needs are being addressed within holistic mental health assessment, diagnosis and interventions.

Read more

Develop a deeper knowledge of psychological approaches and models of understanding that influence a consumer taking constructive change that supports recovery. 

Read more 

This unit explores the varied roles of a mental health professional in the 21st century, within the context of mental health outside of, but articulating with, tertiary services. 

Read more

Pathway to Masters

The units completed from the Graduate Diploma offer as a pathway into the Master of Mental Health Nursing

Graduate Certificate
4 units

Or continue studying

Graduate Diploma
+ 4 Units

Or continue studying

Masters Degree
+ 4 Units

A typical study period at SCU Online
Typical study period timeline

Next study period


Applications close in

6 days

Speak to an Enrolment Advisor to find out more.

Our study periods: Jan, Mar, May, July, Aug, Oct

Late applications may be considered under special circumstances up until the start of O'Week. For more information please speak with a Student Enrolment Advisor.

Entry requirements

To qualify for entry into the Graduate Diploma of Mental Health Nursing, all applicants must:

  • Be a Registered Nurse (Division 1) and have access to mental health nurse practice or mental health nurse practitioners during their course of study, and;
  • Be proficient in English.

If you are not a registered nurse, you could also be eligible for the Graduate Diploma of Mental Health. Find out more about Rules Relating to Awards and Specific Award Rules.

We may recognise and grant credit for past education, qualifications and/or work experience in a process called advanced standing. If you're eligible for advanced standing, this can impact the number of units you need to study, reducing the time and cost of your overall degree. 

Find out more about applying for advanced standing

Ready to take the next step in your career? It's your time.

At Southern Cross University Online, we've helped thousands of people with real lives and real ambition to realise their goals and dreams by supporting them every step of the way.
We provide affordable courses, flexible learning and excellent student support, so you can achieve the impossible and make the most out of your time. 
It’s time to put yourself first. Follow your ambition. 

When you study online with SCU, you're not on your own. We're connected, together. 

Our teachers, academics and education designers have built these courses for people like you. Before commencing study, your dedicated Student Success Advisor will be in touch by phone, email or chat to help you plan your schedule. As you work towards your dream of achieving your degree, your advisor works like an extra pair of eyes and ears with support, advice and motivation throughout your study journey. 


scu ssa at his desk.

Our Accreditations & Endorsements

Australian Qualifications Framework

SCU’s online programs meet all of the AQF guidelines, ensuring you a quality education.

Good Universities Guide Logo

5-STAR Rating for Full-Time Employment, Overall Experience, Student Support, Learning Resources, Teaching Quality and Skills Development.

The World Universities Rankings

Southern Cross University is one of the world's Top 200 Young Universities.

Australian College of Mental Health Nurses.

Accreditation by the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (Diploma and Master's level).

What our students say
Cassandra -MMHN - testimonial 1
Master of Mental Health Nursing student Cassandra.

I believe I now have more skills needed in the contemporary health age, for example I have greater critical thinking skills in mental health, and I feel much more confident to work online within the community.

Cassandra Plesman

Master of Mental Health Nursing Student and Registered Nurse

What our students do

Despite needing to be a registered nurse for entry into this course, our students work in a wide variety of healthcare settings where they can focus on delivering better mental health care to their patients. To give you an idea of some of the roles our mental health nursing students currently work in, see below for a snapshot. 

  • Registered Nurse
  • Mental Health Nurse
  • Case Worker
  • Liaison Clinician
  • Acute Mental Health Nurse
  • Nurse Coordinator


  • Midwife
  • Health Services Manager
  • School Nurse
Course Coordinator

Meet our Course Coordinator

Dr Richard Lakeman is the course coordinator for the Master of Mental Health and Master of Mental Health Nursing programmes, and a Associate Professor at Southern Cross University’s Internationally recognised School of Health and Human Sciences. He has 30 years’ experience working in the mental health field as a mental health nurse, psychotherapist, researcher and teacher in New Zealand, Ireland and Australia.

Clinically he has focused on working with people with complex mental health needs. He has worked as a senior clinician in acute care settings, a mobile Intensive Treatment Team, managed a homeless out-reach service, worked in an Emergency Department, as a nurse navigator and in private practice. He has a wide-range of research interests in mental health and has published extensively on a range of topics including vicarious trauma, suicide, mental health recovery, hearing voices and other extraordinary experience and has a particular interest in psychotherapy for people with complex needs.

Course Coordinator Richard.