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Making a difference in Victoria and beyond

The alarming stories of substance abuse and mental illness we read or hear daily often present incomplete, inaccurate or one-sided views of complex and highly individual situations. Lost in that hype is hope: the hope that individuals can, and do, overcome adversity and the hope that there are people who care enough to help.

Camosun College offers two programs for people who want to make a positive difference in the mental health of individuals and communities: CMH (Community Mental Health certificate) and IMHA (Interprofessional Mental Health and Addictions post degree diploma).

Cristina MartinIMHA student profile: Cristina Martin

Cristina grew up in Switzerland, speaks four languages (French, English, Italian and Spanish), has a Psychology degree from St. Francis-Xavier University in Nova Scotia and just spent a year living in London, England. This amazing student with multi-cultural and international perspectives has always been interested in the helping professions. In particular she felt a calling to help those living with addictions.

When she visited Camosun with a friend and stumbled across IMHA program information, Cristina knew the program was for her. The specific focus of the program and the six-month practicum placement where students hone their skills with real-world experience compelled her to sign up on the spot.

The practicum experience

Cristina is gaining a wide assortment of skills while working with Greater Victoria Adult Addiction Services. Her activities include group therapy work, one-on-one counselling, assessment, preparation of treatment and recovery plans, patient detox and stabilization.

After completing her IMHA studies in June, Cristina plans to apply all her new knowledge and skills on the job—hopefully with Adult Addiction Services. She has found something she really enjoys and hopes to stay.

“IMHA is a great program! The online, part-time studies means we don’t see much of each other in class, but we still work together as a team. The learning is such rewarding experience, the instructors are knowledgeable, and I am glad to be part of it.”

Bridging community and classroom

CMH and IMHA blend classroom learning and work experience to help students acquire relevant theory and skills in practical, meaningful ways. Health promotion and psychosocial rehabilitation are the foundation for practice that promotes and supports the well-being of clients.

This year’s class of IMHA students come from varying backgrounds including psychology, nursing, social work, art therapy and child & youth care. The range of practicum placements reflects a similar diversity: youth detox, BC Schizophrenia Society, Integrated Community Outreach Team, Cridge Centre, Adult Addiction and Community Services, Eric Martin Pavilion, Integrated Mobile Crisis Response Team and Ledger House.

CMH students will be working and learning in the community this April at VIHA residential & support programs, Seven Oaks tertiary care facility, Cool Aid Society and Our Place.

Community Mental Health CertificateCommunity Mental Health Certificate Program (CMH)

There is a growing need for qualified Mental Health Workers in our communities. The CMH certificate is the preferred qualification to work as a Community Mental Health Worker within the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) and its mental health affiliates.

The CMH certificate program is a 20-week program (full-time equivalent). Full-time classes start in May, part-time classes start in September. More info...

Interprofessional Mental Health & Addictions Post-Degree Diploma (IMHA)

Interprofessional Mental Health and AddictionsIMHA graduates work with adults and older teens living with complex, overlapping mental health and addiction challenges. With a focus on advanced knowledge and skills, IMHA grads may work in acute, tertiary and community settings as members of an interprofessional team. The part-time 12-month program is taught using a combination of face-to-face and web-based classes and is suited both to local and distance learners. Students must have a relevant 4-year degree (nursing, social work, child and youth care, occupational therapy) or a related degree in conjunction with experience in mental health or addictions services (education, psychology, criminal justice, etc.). Part-time classes start in June. More info...


For more information on these programs, visit an info session or call 250–370–3912.

Last updated: January 21, 2010 3:43 pm

Contact Us
Camosun College Lansdowne
3100 Foul Bay Rd
Victoria BC V8P 5J2
Camosun College Interurban
4461 Interurban Rd
Victoria BC V9E 2C1
  • 250–370–3000
  • 1–877–554–7555 (toll-free)

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