Essential Core Units When Getting a Masters in Mental Health

By TOI Staff   November 3, 2022   Update on : November 3, 2022

Mental Health

You’ve decided you want to get your master’s in mental health, and you’re about to embark on an incredible journey of personal growth, self-discovery, and professional development.

But before you start, there are a few things you need to know about the basic core units when getting a masters in mental health

The first step is choosing your program, which means knowing what each program offers.

Some programs have more mental health degrees than others, so make sure yours has everything you need before signing up.

Once you’ve chosen your program, it’s time to register for classes. That means picking out courses that align with the core units required by most programs and making sure they meet all your needs as a student and future practitioner.

Here are the fundamental core units when getting a master’s in mental health, and this article will explain why these classes are so crucial for your success as a student.

Recovery Oriented Mental Health

This unit will provide you with the knowledge and skills to work in the recovery-oriented mental health field. It will help you understand how the recovery model can be applied to treatment and develop a framework for working with clients within this model.

The unit will introduce you to a range of recovery-oriented models, including mentalization-based therapy (MBT), transference-focused psychotherapy (TFP), dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), and motivational interviewing (MI).

You will learn about various therapeutic approaches that are used in the treatment of mental health problems. You will also explore some of the ways that you can incorporate these approaches into clinical practice.

Biopsychosocial and Cultural Perspectives on Mental Health​

This unit will give you a deeper understanding of how biological, psychological, and social factors influence mental health. In addition, you will explore the roles of culture, religion, and spirituality in psychic health care and learn how these factors can enhance recovery.

This unit will provide an overview of the biopsychosocial model and its application in clinical practice. It will also help you understand how to apply this model when providing clinical care for people with mental illness or clients who may be at risk.

Effective Trauma-Informed Care 

Trauma-informed care is an approach to mental health treatment that recognizes the effects of trauma on the mind and body.

It is from a belief that people who have experienced trauma are more likely than others to be affected by stressors in their lives and therefore need special care regarding mental health.

Trauma-informed care focuses on helping patients understand how their experiences have shaped their behaviour and how they can use these insights to advance healthily. 

It also helps clinicians better understand what interventions will work best for each person since everyone responds differently to different treatments or therapies.

Mental Health Foundations

Mental health foundations are a core unit when getting a master’s in mental health. It is a requirement for all program students and will cover the basics of psychic health and mental illness.

Students will learn how the brain works and how it affects moods and behaviour. They will also learn about social determinants of health, which influence the overall health of individuals in society.

It will also cover the basic sciences of psychology, including human development, research methods, and human behaviour. Students can apply these skills to future courses within their degree programs and career opportunities outside of school.

Introduction to Child and Adolescent Mental Health​

The foundational unit will help you understand the complexities of mental health, particularly among children and adolescents.

The unit explores the various factors that influence mental health in this population, including biological, environmental, and cultural factors.

You’ll also learn about developmental processes that impact how children’s brains are shaped, affecting their risk of developing psychic health issues later in life.

Mental Health in Later Life

Mental health in later life is a growing field of study and interest. The ageing population is increasing, and many older adults are living longer. 

Some specific psychic health problems typically occur with age, and it’s essential to understand how to recognize them and treat them appropriately.

This unit will provide you with the knowledge necessary to understand the issues that affect mental health in older adults and how to treat them.

You will learn about common problems like dementia, depression, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse.

You will also learn about treatment options for each topic and how to develop a treatment plan based on your client’s needs.

Systems Thinking in Public Health

This unit aims to understand the basic systems thinking concepts and how they relate to public health.

Students will learn how to apply systems thinking to make strategic decisions that improve the health of a population, as well as how to design interventions to achieve those outcomes.

Students will also explore how systems thinking can help inform policy-making processes and how such methods can impact health outcomes.

Psychological Therapies​​

Psychological therapies are a large part of the master’s in mental health program. These therapeutic approaches include cognitive behavioural therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and family systems therapy.

Psychological therapies help patients change their behaviour and thinking patterns to improve their quality of life. This type of treatment method works well for people who are suffering from depression or anxiety disorders.

Evidence and Research for Practice

This unit focuses on the importance of evidence-based practice (EBP) in mental health, including its history and current status. 

It also helps you to understand how to read research literature, evaluate it critically, and make informed decisions about what to include or exclude from your practice.

You will learn how to select appropriate strategies based on the results of systematic reviews and meta-analyses and how to access and use databases that contain information on evidence-based practice.

Perspectives on Addictive Behaviours​

This unit will examine the influence of genetic, biological, and environmental factors on addictive behaviour. It will also investigate how these factors interact to create a complex picture of an individual’s propensity for addiction.

The unit will discuss the role of personality factors in developing addictive disorders, including examining how personal characteristics such as sensation-seeking and impulsivity predispose people to engage in risky behaviours.

It will also cover the neurobiological basis of addictive behaviours by examining how drug use affects brain function and how this can lead to compulsive drug taking.

The unit will look at recent advances in understanding the neurophysiology of addiction.

This includes pharmacological strategies for treating different types of substance abuse and behavioural therapies to reduce cravings.

Assessment of Mental Health

All mental health professionals are required to assess their clients. This unit ensures you can determine clients’ mental health conditions to get the best care possible and meet their needs.

Research Project

If you’re getting a master’s in mental health, you’ll need to complete a research project.

This will culminate all your work in the program and will be graded by your peers, professors, and other experts.

You’ll want to start this project early so you have plenty of time to ask for feedback from your peers and professors.

You may also want to take advantage of different resources which will help you get started on finding topics for your research paper.

Final Thoughts

When getting a master’s in mental health, it’s essential to know your core units.

You may want to take psychology, social work, and counselling classes. That way, you can get the most out of your education and prepare yourself to work with people with mental health issues.

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