Graduate Diploma of Mental Health Nursing - CC69

CQUniversity's Graduate Diploma of Mental Health Nursing is ideal for registered nurses looking to develop their mental health nursing credentials to practise as a specialist Mental Health Nurse. Delivered fully online in a flexible format, this course forms part of a suite of three mental health nursing courses and will provide you with advanced skills and knowledge required to practise in this area of nursing specialisation.








1 years full-time, 2 years part-time

The Graduate Diploma of Mental Health Nursing is delivered via our Be Different platform and offers you a self-paced, ultra-flexible online course, ideal for busy, emerging health leaders interested in practising as a qualified Mental Health Nurse.

Our Graduate Diploma of Mental Health Nursing is nationally accredited by the Australian College of Mental Health Nursing, meaning you’ll graduate from this course with specialist mental health nursing skills and knowledge. After completion of this course, you can later apply to become a credentialed Mental Health Nurse through the Australian College of Mental Health Nursing provided you meet the other requirements.

Delivered as part of a suite, the Graduate Diploma incorporates a nested Graduate Certificate in Mental Health Nursing. This means that the first four units you complete make up the Graduate Certificate and will build your skills and knowledge in undertaking mental health assessments, diagnostic formulations and risk assessments, along with psychotropic medication, and recovery. The final units of this course extend on this and with a focus on the provision of safe, person-centred, recovery-orientated mental health care, particular attention is given to exploring a range of therapeutic interventions that you can use to enhance your practice. After completing the Graduate Diploma, you may like to extend your studies and continue on in the Master of Mental Health Nursing.

The assessments that you complete in the Graduate Diploma need you to be working in mental health. This way you can employ your mental health nursing skills and apply your learnings to your own clinical practice.

Developed with industry and lived experience academics, we’ve made sure our mental health nursing courses are evidence-based and clinically relevant so that your studies truly reflect current and emerging mental health nursing matters. Add to this, the flexible, online delivery via our Be Different platform where you set your own pace and affordable tuition fees and you have a suite of mental health nursing courses that allow you to fit study around your life, not the other way round.

Core Units 8 Major Units None
Electives None Minor Units None

Wondering how a self-paced postgraduate course in mental health nursing works and what to expect? Explore the course details below to find out more.

The Graduate Diploma of Mental Health Nursing is comprised of eight units. Seven core units and one elective unit from a choice of two. The units that you will study are generally broken down into five or six smaller modules that you can complete.

If you have completed the Graduate Certificate, you’ll have already studied the first four units of the Graduate Diploma, so you’ll only have four to go.

Each unit is six credit points and designed to require a time commitment of a total of 144 hours; in total, for all eight units (this is approximately 1120 hours of study). The eight units from within the Graduate Diploma equate to 12 months of full-time study when compared to a typical university term structure of two terms of full-time study. However, you will have up to three years from enrolment to complete the course at your own pace.

If you haven’t already completed the graduate certificate, you will have access to the first four units (that make up the graduate certificate). After completing these, you’ll have access to the final units, and you can work through these in any order.

Your assessments range from portfolio, online quizzes, case studies, videoed presentations with all being based around your mental health nursing practice – the difference is there are no deadlines or due dates. Additional activities are available for those who wish to explore topics further, however, are not mandatory.

You must complete a total of eight units (seven core and one elective) as follows:
The four core units that make up the Graduate Certificate in Mental Health Nursing
NURS20150 Contextual Foundations of Mental Health Nursing Practice
NURS20151 Creating Meaningful Relationships
NURS20157 Mental Health Nursing Assessment and Formulation
NURS20158 Clinical Foundations for Practice

Three additional core units:
NURS20149 Mental Health Promotion in Mental Health Nursing
NURS20152 Advanced Therapeutic Interventions
NURS20153 Recovery Into Action

One elective unit from the following two options:
NURS20178 Alcohol and Other Drugs  OR
NURS20154 The Transformative Power of Story

Seven core units:
Contextual Foundations of Mental Health Nursing Practice (core unit)

Mental health nursing has evolved over many centuries and has continued to be influenced by socio-political factors. This unit challenges you to explore the historical, traditional and contemporary discourses shaping mental health nursing practice. You will examine the experiences of marginalised groups within these services. Social, biological and cultural influences of mental health will also be explored. You will have the opportunity to apply theoretical understandings to reflect on and better understand the mental health nursing role across various contexts.

Creating Meaningful Relationships (core unit)
To support people affected by mental health issues and distress requires understanding, empathy and skilful use of therapeutic strategies. In this unit, you will learn about the concept of the therapeutic use of self and various mental health issues that affect a person's ability to think, feel and relate with others. You will apply therapeutic evidence-based strategies that support the person in their journey of recovery. This unit will also provide an opportunity to develop further skills in self-reflection on how you relate in a professional capacity with consumers.

Clinical Foundations for Practice (core unit)
This unit will enable you to continue to examine mental health practice within a strengths-based framework and give you the opportunity to examine the nursing actions, including safety and therapeutic implications and psycho-education, associated with psychopharmacology and other types of biological treatments for mental health consumers. Ethical issues associated with the use of medication and other biological treatments within a Recovery-orientated practice will be discussed and analysed.

Mental Health Nursing Assessment and Formulation (core unit)
This unit provides specialised knowledge and skills for safe and effective mental health nursing care within a strengths-based framework. You will examine psychiatric classification systems and undertake comprehensive mental state examinations and risk formulation. You will demonstrate good judgement and adaptability in the physical and psycho-social care of persons experiencing different forms of distress.

Recovery Into Action (core unit)
The Recovery movement heralded a paradigm shift in mental health services and is now enshrined in national policy and legislation. Whilst services are adapting to this shift, Recovery has yet to be unanimously adopted. In this unit, you will examine how Recovery is conceived and practised adjacent to biopsychosocial treatment. You will have the opportunity to analyse social, cultural and organisational influences that enable the inclusion of Recovery in contemporary treatment. You will also be asked to evaluate an organisational area and determine strategies for integration and change.

Mental Health Promotion in Mental Health Nursing (core unit)
Contemporary national mental health plans emphasise the importance of proactive mental health promotion strategies and interventions that reduce stigma and discrimination for people living with a mental disorder. This unit will allow you to explore mental health promotion within contemporary society. You will be expected to research global and local mental health promotion initiatives and evaluate structures that enhance an organisation's capacity to provide mental health promotion and build resilience.

Advanced Therapeutic Interventions (core unit)
Approaches to mental health care have developed dramatically in the past 150 years. From containment and custodial-based care, mental health nurses now aspire to therapeutic approaches that are person-centred, goal-oriented, collaborative and evidence-based. This unit explores specialist techniques intentionally used to create ease, promote self-understanding and motivate pathways to recovery within specific mental health contexts. You will research, discuss and apply traditional and emerging psychosocial approaches such as cognitive behaviour therapy, solution-focused counselling, open dialogue and other group therapies. You will also have an opportunity to focus your inquiry into one or more specialist services, where advanced techniques are emphasised.

One of the following two elective options:
Alcohol and Other Drugs (elective unit)
The use and misuse of licit and illicit drugs is a serious and complex problem in Australia and leads to broad health, social and economic concerns including increased risk of mortality, illness, disease and injury; social and family disruption; workplace problems; and violence, crime and community safety issues. In this unit, you will have the opportunity to explore the impact of drug use, the reasons why individuals may use and misuse drugs, and evaluate strategies to minimise harm to the community and individuals. You will also compare the effects of different types of licit and illicit drugs on individuals and evaluate assessment and treatment options.

The Transformative Power of Story (elective unit)
This unit will provide you with opportunities to explore the transformative and healing power of stories. You will explore the ways stories have been or could be used to understand lived experience, prompt therapeutic change, or convey powerful lessons about the human experience. Types of narratives explored include consumers’ stories as an embodiment of the lived experience and stories found in film, fiction, metaphor and art. The idea that people can be assisted to re-story their lives will be examined using narrative.

Uniquely flexible, clinically relevant, and designed to help you help others, our suite of postgraduate mental health nursing courses is ideal for registered nurses seeking a path to become a credentialed Mental Health Nurse or wanting to learn mental health nursing skills. Our mental health nursing courses are designed for self-motivated and independent learners and provide all the support you need with a great CQUni mental health team who can help you along the way.

The Graduate Certificate in Mental Health Nursing is the ideal taster for what’s to come in your mental health nursing studies and you’ll also become familiar with our Be Different learning platform. You’ll develop foundation knowledge and skills in mental health nursing, so it’s a great place to start if you have an interest in mental health nursing or you are newly employed in mental health. If you're interested in practising as a qualified Mental Health Nurse then the Graduate Diploma of Mental Health Nursing is nationally accredited by the Australian College of Mental Health Nursing and ideal for you. You will graduate from this course with specialist Mental Health Nurse skills and knowledge and can later apply to become a credentialed Mental Health Nurse through the Australian College of Mental Health Nursing provided you meet the other requirements. With our Master of Mental Health Nursing, you will develop your research capabilities and have opportunities that prepare you to become a leader in advancing the discipline through scientific inquiry.

Through our suite of mental health nursing courses, you will gain clinically relevant mental health knowledge and skills that you can apply in the clinical setting to support people affected by mental health issues. Analyse historical, traditional and contemporary mental health discourses and build on your communication and therapeutic skills to help you support a consumer's recovery journey. Devise strategies to implement the principles of recovery-oriented mental health nursing practice and explore methods to remove barriers to ensure culturally safe and inclusive mental health care with reference to Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander people. Study the mental health promotion strategies that build resilience and prevent or reduce the impact of mental health issues and explore obstacles to social inclusion for those with mental health issues and discover strategies to reduce these.

Ideal for the busy, self-motivated learner, our mental health courses are hosted entirely online and structured so that you can choose when you study. They’re designed for you to access course content on any device with internet access.

Unit content is divided into modules which are then broken down into smaller bite-sized learning activities so you’re able to fit study around your commitments and lifestyle. Complete modules on the bus, during your lunch hour, or in the doctor’s waiting room.

With no need to buy textbooks or additional content, and everything you need available on the Be Different platform and internet, you can be completing your mental health nursing course anywhere.

Online Availability

Hyperflexible Annual Term - 2022Available Online

When you study this course via our flexible online Be Different learning platform, not only will you study high-quality course content delivered by our supportive Mental Health Nursing educators, but you also get to set the pace. You are not bound by our traditional term dates, such as Term 1 (March) or Term 2 (July) and you can submit your assessments at any time over the duration of the course.

The course is open for applications all year round so you can start your studies anytime.

Once enrolled, you will have up to three years to complete this course.

Majors and minors are not applicable to this course.
Work-integrated learning does not apply to this course.
This course has no residential schools.

To be eligible for entry into this course, applicants must supply:

· Current registration as a Registered Nurse (Division 1) with the Australian Health Practitioners Regulatory Authority (AHPRA); and

· A letter of employment demonstrating current employment in a setting which requires the use of mental health nursing skills.

Letters of employment must be presented on a company letterhead and be signed and dated by a delegated authority. Please ensure that the letter contains your full name, position title, duties performed, hours per week, and length of service.

Security Requirements


Health Requirements


Assumed Knowledge


On the completion of this course you will receive the award of Graduate Diploma of Mental Health Nursing.

Students who complete this course of study will be able to seek employment in the mental health field as a career pathway.

Nil required

The Graduate Diploma of Mental Health Nursing CC69 has been provisionally accredited by The Australian College of Mental Health Nursing.

2022 Indicative Fees
Fee TypeFees
Domestic Full Fee Paying – Indicative First Year Fee$15,132.00

*Tuition Fees are reviewed annually and can increase from year to year.

Indicative Fees
The indicative first year fee is based on studying eight units in one academic year. Your actual fees may vary, depending on the number of units you study across the year.

  • Each standard unit (6 credit points) is priced at $1891.50* per unit.
  • Masters courses may include capstone or dissertation units (12 credit points) and these are priced at $3783* per unit.  

Don’t want to pay your tuition fees upfront?
You might be eligible for FEE-HELP, a loan scheme that helps eligible students pay their tuition fees. Provided you meet the FEE-HELP eligibility criteria, you can choose to use FEE-HELP to cover all or part of your tuition fees.

To find out more about FEE-HELP view the FEE-HELP information booklet available on the Australian Government’s Study Assist website.

Please note that from 1 January 2020, the Australian Government introduced a combined HELP loan limit which caps the amount you can borrow. This loan limit includes any HECS-HELP debt incurred from 2020 onwards plus any existing and new FEE-HELP, VET FEE-HELP or VET Student Loans. Learn more about the HELP loan limit and how it affects you.

This course is open for applications all year round and you can start your studies anytime.  To apply, click on the apply button below.

Optional Orientation Unit
Before you apply, you can register on our Be Different platform and complete an Optional Mental Health Nursing Orientation Unit. This orientation unit is a great taster unit and will give you a feel for the course and the learning platform – it’s a good way to assess whether it’s the right fit, for you.

Apply direct