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New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing - Mental Health and Addiction Support

Gain an understanding of what it means to be mentally healthy, develop the skills you need to support those who need mental health or addiction support, and learn how to meet their needs to the highest standard. 

120 (1.0 EFTS)
Start dates
February or July
Full-time for one year, or part-time for two years

Programme overview

This programme is suitable for people who want to, or who already, work in the mental health and addiction sector (including peer support). You will develop a solid understanding of mental health and addiction issues, as well as the important skills you'll need to work with people, whānau groups, and communities.  

This programme emphasises kindness, caring, and compassion, and respects individual identities and experiences, particularly when it comes to recognising te ao Māori. You’ll also learn about relevant legal issues such as human rights and privacy. A combination of classes and work-based learning means you’ll apply skills as you learn them. 

You’ll use your own experiences and values to come away with a clear understanding of your own role within the mental health and addiction sector in Aotearoa. You’ll then be able to harness your own unique qualities to assist and encourage the people you work alongside to develop and then maintain their own mental health and wellbeing. 


  • You’ll be able to practice safely and professionally as a mental health support worker. 
  • You’ll learn by doing, by completing at least 200 hours in work placements in a mental health or addiction setting. This can be prearranged, or we can arrange a placement for you when you start the programme.   
  • You’ll receive up-to-date knowledge about mental health, addictions, and co-existing issues. 
  • You will learn more about yourself and others by examining different cultures, values, and attitudes around mental health and addiction support. 
  • You’ll learn how to be a highly skilled communicator to create a trusted and open relationship with the people you work with, as well as their families/ngā whānau, and community networks. 
  • You’ll be taught by lecturers who specialise in mental health.   

Admission requirements

For this programme, you will need the following: 

1. Be at least 16 years old on the programme's start date 

2. At least 4 years of secondary school education 

3. At least one of the following academic requirements: 

  • 12 Level 1 NCEA credits in at least two subjects 
  • A pass in at least 2 School Certificate subjects 
  • A New Zealand Certificate in a relevant discipline at either Level 2 or Level 3, or equivalent 

4. Consent to a Safety Check which meets the requirements of the Children Act 2014 (formerly known as the Vulnerable Children's Act) including: 

  • Provide two forms of verified ID and evidence of any name changes 
  • Consent to a police vet check 
  • Provide the names of two referees who Unitec can contact 
  • Pass a mandatory interview process 
  • Provide a Curriculum Vitae (CV) detailing a chronological summary of your work history for the past 5 years and the name of any professional organisations, licensing authorities and registration authorities that you have been, or are, a member of 
  • Complete a self-declaration of criminal convictions and medical conditions form 

If English isn't your first language, you'll need at least 12 credits in English at NCEA level 1. 

Don't meet the requirements? We also accept:

  • If you are over the age of 20 before the first day of the semester, you may also gain entry by providing sufficient evidence of aptitude or appropriate work or other life experience that would indicate a successful outcome in the programme. 
  • Provide sufficient evidence to be eligible for special or discretionary admission.

For more information download the programme regulations:


Programme Regulations

Courses and timetables

For more details on the courses, please click on the course names below. Please note that our systems are updating with new course timetable information for 2020; the course timetables for 2020 will be available in mid-November.

Courses Credits Aim
Introduction to the Health and Wellbeing Sector (HCSP4401) 10.0 credits (0.083 EFTS) This course enable students to develop their preparedness for introductory work in the social, community and health service sector.
Knowledge for Practice (HCSP4402) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) This course will enable students to develop an understanding of relevant knowledge, theory and models that relate to working with people in the social service, community and health workforce.
Working with People (HCSP4403) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) This course enables students to develop and apply their understanding of interpersonal and intrapersonal skills and professional values and ethics when working alongside people with diverse needs and backgrounds.
Te Ao Hauora Maori (HCSP4404) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) This course will enable students to relate the history of Maori as tangata whenua and demonstrate knowledge of person / whanau interconnectedness/whakawhanaungatanga to their own role in the health and wellbeing setting.
Contemporary Issues in Health and Wellbeing (HCSP4405) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) This course will enable students to develop knowledge and understanding of the diverse issues experienced in contemporary society of Aotearoa New Zealand
Mental Health and Addiction Support Practicum A (HCSP4406) 20.0 credits (0.167 EFTS) This course will enable students to examine and apply skills, values and behaviours that are congruent with knowledge and theories relevant for entry to the mental health and addiction workforce in a support level role.
Mental Health and Addiction Support Practicum B (HCSP4407) 30.0 credits (0.25 EFTS) This course will enable students to further develop, apply and integrate skills, values and behaviours that are congruent with knowledge and theories relevant to the mental health and addiction support workforce in a support level role.