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Why study Mental Health with SCU Online?


Gain immediately implementable skills


Course material is current and comprehensive


Become a well-rounded mental health care provider 


Learn from clinically experienced mental health academics 


Dedicated, one-on-one support


Flexible online learning environment


Affordable fees, FEE-HELP available

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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.

Develop the skills to provide effective mental health care

By completing Southern Cross University’s online Graduate Diploma of Mental Health course, you gain expert knowledge in mental health and psychiatry, while building the skills needed to confidently respond to patients experiencing mild, moderate and severe mental health challenges.

Developed with the latest industry standards in mind, this program prepares you to work within a range of health settings and disciplines. You will access current and clinically relevant, evidence-based knowledge and learn from leading and clinically active mental health academics from the internationally recognised School of Health and Human Sciences.

nursing in meeting
Learning outcomes
mental health icon

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. 

icon trends

Contemporary mental health focus

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

hospital icon

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 postgraduate courses in mental health have been designed to develop the skills required to effectively respond to challenges across a diverse range of mental health fields. 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, you will study 8 core units listed 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 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

This unit explores the varied roles of a mental health professional in the 21st century. 

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

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 

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

Read more

Enhance 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

Pathway to Masters

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

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

14 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, all applicants must:

  • Have successfully completed a minimum three (3) year Bachelor qualification, or equivalent, in health, psychology or social science-related discipline, and;
  • Be proficient in English.

If you are a registered nurse, you could also be eligible for the Graduate Diploma of Mental Health Nursing. 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. 


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Our Accreditations & Endorsements

Australian Qualifications Framework logo

Our online programs meet all of the AQF guidelines, ensuring 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 logo

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

Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching logo

Our postgraduate student support and satisfaction both above the national average.

What our students say
Student Spotlight 1

Q:Do you feel like the Graduate Diploma of Mental Health has broadened your opportunities within your field?

“It’s absolutely broadened my opportunities, in fact - it’s sort of steered me down a path that I wasn’t originally heading down.”

Student Spotlight 2

Q:Is there anything you’d like to share about your experience with SCU Online or the Graduate Diploma of Mental Health?

“I honestly found studying this course, and studying in this format really positive and I found that all of the learning facilitators and the people who were coordinating the course were so supportive, so helpful, always really responsive.”

Student Spotlight 3

Q:Why did you choose to study the Graduate Diploma of Mental Health?

“It just seemed like a really good opportunity to get back and do some learning. I chose this particular course because I felt like I needed to reconnect with that side of mental health.”

Student Spotlight 4

Q:What are your career ambitions after completing the Graduate Diploma of Mental Health?

““Having just completed my postgrad, I’m now actually preparing a PhD proposal - so that’s going to be the next step. I feel really excited about the next few years and where that might take me.”

Student Spotlight 5

Q:What were some of your favourite units in the Graduate Diploma of Mental Health?

“Every unit that I did was a little bit different and challenged me in different ways. I thought the unit on acute mental health was really interesting. It showed me that side of the mental health system and how it works, posing some questions around how we can improve that area of mental health.”

What our students do

Our students work in a variety of mental health roles across Australia in both public and private healthcare. The study builds your capabilities to provide appropriate mental health care and will set you up to work in a range of community and healthcare settings. Below are some of the roles our mental health master's students work in. 

  • Social Worker
  • Child Protection Officer
  • Counsellor
  • Occupational Therapist (Mental Health Clinician)
  • Registered Social Worker
  • Government Assessor


  • Art Therapist
  • Case Manager
  • Mental Health Worker
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.

richard lakeman