Addiction and Mental Health Worker

Post-Secondary Programs
Credential Earned: College Diploma (2 Year)
Campus: Haileybury, Kirkland Lake, Timmins, Distance
Program Length: 4 Semesters

Program Codes
A151 (PC) – Timmins Campus (in-person)
A154 (DL) – Distance (remote)

Find your purpose on the front lines of community care.

The Addictions and Mental Health Worker program allows students to analyze intersecting causes and impacts of addiction and mental health issues from a multidimensional framework that integrates an Anti-Oppressive Practice length along with a strengths-based approach to supporting clients. Students learn how to interact with clients on an individual, group and community level all while advocating for appropriate systemic changes. Throughout the program, students can apply theoretical concepts through lab-based activities, simulations, fieldwork placement and experiential learning opportunities.  The interactive lab allows students to work with actors in the field to practice and refine their interviewing and counselling skills.  The capstone course encourages students to advocate for social change and promote the field of addictions and mental health overall.

You will challenge the stigma associated with these problems including your own hidden biases to develop holistic healing plans that work and master the self-care strategies that will be critical to your long-term success. Finally, you will put theory into practice during a 580-hour fieldwork placement with social services employers of all kinds including shelters, drop-in centres, recovery homes, correctional facilities, crisis support agencies, and more.

These skills have never been more in demand more, and you can make a profound difference in the lives of others by studying here. The AMHW program provides a double diploma option with our Social Service Worker program, students wishing to take this route need to apply to the Social Service Worker Program. Graduates from our Addiction and Mental Health Program are eligible to register with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers.

This program will prepare you for a rewarding career as an in-demand counsellor, case manager, or outreach worker. In a collaborative lab environment, you will gradually hone your communication, listening and crisis intervention skills – all while gaining an awareness of the complex causes and impacts of mental health issues and addiction.

The program ties in various elements of Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice from the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW), giving graduates and strong ethical framework to ensure they are meeting the needs of clients throughout the community.  As such, the AMH program was granted SSW equivalency status through the OCSWSSW, and graduates are eligible for registration with the regulatory college.

Northern has a partnership with Algoma University. Students who have completed a Social Service Worker diploma through Northern College can enter the Bachelor of Social Work Program with Algoma University. Students are eligible for up to 60 credits to be transferred into the BSW program, which consists of 120 credits overall. Please reach out to Tara Duclos for additional information:

Northern College also has a pathway agreement for students who have completed their Social Service Worker Diploma to enter the Community Economic and Social Development (CESD) Bachelor Program. Please reach out to Leah Blanchette, for more information.


Distance Delivery Information (A154)
Here is some important information to know before deciding if our online Addiction and Mental Health Program is right for you.

Our AMHW distance program is synchronous, meaning, classes are scheduled each semester for a class day and time for you to attend online. It is important to note that all classes that have lab components (and some others) have mandatory attendance and participation to be successful in the course. Students who are in the distance program must have a working camera and microphone on their device. This is mandatory for our distance program as it will allow students to participate and engage with classmates and the course material.

Our distance students can do their placements in their city/town of their choice, but placements are done in person. Students studying outside of the Timmins area are responsible for securing their own fieldwork placement which will be approved by the placement coordinator.

Both the on campus and distance Social Service Worker Program are vigorous programs. For this reason, the program coordinator can meet with you to discuss part-time pathways.

Contact Information

For questions about being admitted into the program, please contact Northern College Admissions at or by phone at 705-235-3211 ext. 7222.

For questions about the content of the program, contact the Program Coordinator.

Lori Vachon
Program Coordinator
Tel: 705-235-3211 ext. 2141

Admission Requirements

General Admission Requirements

  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD)
  • Grade 12 English (C, U) (Minimum 60% GPA required)

Or equivalent


Academic prerequisites for this program may be obtained free of charge through Academic Upgrading.

Applicants who do not have a high school diploma or equivalent and will have reached the age of 19 years on or before the start of the program must undergo academic testing and may be required to complete Prior Learning Assessment & Recognition (PLAR) process to demonstrate equivalency of admission requirements prior to admission into a program.

For more details, please contact the Admissions Office at 705-235-7222 or

Additional Requirements for International Students

In addition to the general admission requirements, international students must have proof of English Proficiency and meet the requirements below.

1. Proof of Senior High School Diploma/Certificate

2. English Proficiency (we will require one of the following):

  • IELTS Academic International English Language Testing System: minimum overall score of 6.0 must be achieved with no individual band score under 6.0; however, we will accept one band at 5.5.
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): Computer-based overall minimum score of 79
  • PTE (Pearson Test of English) Academic – Graduate Diploma: 58+

3. CO-OP Work Permit is mandatory for this program to participate in unpaid program placements. All educational documents must be submitted in English and will be dependent on the country of citizenship.

For more information, please contact”

If your country of citizenship has English as its official language, we may accept alternate proof of English Proficiency.

All educational documents must be submitted in English and will be dependent on the country of citizenship.

For more information, please contact

Semester 1
CM1913 Communications I – Model B

Communications 1 is designed to enhance students’ writing, speaking, and critical thinking skills as required in academic and workplace settings. Emphasis will be placed on the use of appropriate structure, writing conventions, tone and style as well as the enhancement of interpersonal, teamwork, and presentation skills. Topics covered include the three-step writing process, paragraph development, academic integrity, essay composition, grammar and mechanics, A.P.A. and employment documents. Attention to detail is emphasized.

SW1014 Working on Teams and in Groups

This course will provide an interactive environment to enable students to develop group leadership and collaborative group work skills and to critically reflect on interprofessional teamwork. Students in this course will work with and in groups to explore theories relevant to group dynamics and group facilitation. Students will apply theories learned in a lab setting which will examine group dynamics, leadership styles, group conflict management as well as forming and facilitating groups.

AM1003 The Role of Biology in Addiction and Mental Health

In this course, students will explore current research, focused on genetic and epigenetic factors that may play a role in the development of addiction and mental health of individuals. Students will review the role of medication in supporting those living with additions and mental health. By the end of this course, students will have an understanding of the many factors: biological, psychological and social factors that influence mental health and addiction.

SW2073 Working with Indigenous Peoples

This course is intended to assist the student to develop the capacity to work with Indigenous individuals, families, groups and communities. Students will examine the impacts of trauma and colonization for Indigenous peoples and communities by gaining an in-depth understanding of the residential school system, the 60s’s scoop and intergenerational trauma. Upon completion of this course, students will be able to identify culturally safe practice considerations and assist in the development of holistic healing plans that incorporate appropriate cultural resources. Students will connect the concepts learned in two other courses: Trauma-Informed Care and Crisis; and Understanding Power, Privilege and Oppression in Social Service Work to this course in order to be able to build meaningful relationships with Indigenous individuals, family and communities while recognizing the impact of their own privilege on these relationships.

AM2023 Addressing Stigma in Addiction and Mental Health Work

Challenging the stigma associated with addiction and mental health takes understanding, education and examines personal attitudes towards health. This course provides students with an in-depth exploration and analysis of the social construction of stigma relating to people with addiction and mental health issues. Students will focus on the causes, consequences and impacts of stigma at the micro, meso and macro levels, as well as multiple solutions to combat stigma. Students will have the opportunity to apply knowledge and skills by creating an anti-stigma initiative using the (AOP) lens, community outreach and engagement approaches.

AM1013 Professional Practice Skills

Students will examine different models of practice as they relate to mental health and addiction. Students will engage in critical self-reflection to build awareness and appreciation of how power differentials, internalized oppression and social location all influence interactions. A focus on mindful communication practices will be emphasized with a specific focus on anti-oppressive and collaborative communication. Students will learn the models of practice, focusing on effective communication, beginning interviewing skills, empathetic listening, paraphrasing, perception-checking, questioning and affirming.

AM2013 Screening, Assessment and Case Management

Based on the cultural beliefs, values and needs of a client/support system, and in collaboration with all service providers, screening, assessment and case management enables clients with support systems to be linked with appropriate providers of care and resources throughout the realm of health and community services and across various care settings. They do so while ensuring that the care provided is safe, effective, client-centered, timely, efficient, and equitable. This course will identify the range of diverse service settings in which people with addictions and mental health concerns present, and will examine reasons why the majority of people with addiction and mental health questions do not seek specialized treatment, drop out prematurely or “fall through the cracks” attempting to navigate multiple service systems. Based on a foundation model of trauma informed care, students will use care-based applications to screening and assessment tools for addiction and mental health matters, and will critically reflect on the shortcomings of these tools among specific populations, including Indigenous Peoples and culturally specific groups.

Semester 2
CM2913 Communications II – Model B

Communications 2 is a one-semester course that applies the oral and written communication tools learned in COMM1  required by the workplace. The student will enhance the writing skills acquired in COMM1 and continue to learn to produce effective documents including business letters, emails, employment documents as well as reports applicable to their field of study. Students will also participate in mock interviews (as applicable) so that they are prepared to transition into the competitive employment market. Students will continue to learn and apply proper language and grammatical structures and apply editing strategies including APA to documents through both in-class/online activities and through the usage of the customized Mylab online grammar tool. As with COMM1, the content will be inclusive and reflect the diverse workplace that students will experience in the future.

*Students for whom English is not their first language will receive additional language support through the concurrent delivery of CM2933 (Enhanced Comm2) which focuses on the foundational grammar, punctuation and sentence structure skills essential to academic success.

AM2003 Social Policy and Legislation in Addiction and Mental Health

Students will discuss social policies relating to addiction and mental health from a structural perspective. Students will explore the concept of personal troubles versus public issues. These analyses will assist the student to be able to access appropriate services for clients, as well as develop and implement services to address gaps.

SW2083 Community Health and Development

The importance of Social Service Workers being able to navigate and work within communities at a macro level is imperative to the human services field. This course is designed to introduce students to the fundamental concepts and theories used within community organization and development. Community service learning is incorporated where students will do an analysis of the health of their community (using the social determinants of health as a guide. Based on the results students will develop a plan to address their findings, using a structural and anti-oppressive lens to inform their work.

SW1073 Understanding Power, Privilege & Oppression

Anti-Oppressive Practice (AOP) and Structural Social Work (STSW) are the philosophical basis for Northern College’s Social Service Worker Program. In this course, students will begin to understand their own social location, the concepts of Privilege and Oppression and the impact of these on marginalized people with whom Social Service Workers work. The concept of “Private Troubles versus Public Problems” will assist students to understand their role in working to change systems that oppress people.

AM2033 Interviewing and Counselling Skills

Students began to learn about intervention skills in the first semester in Professional Practice Skills. This course provides the opportunity to practice these skills while continuing to enhance the understanding of work at the micro, mezzo and macro levels of practice, with individuals, families, groups and community. Students will enrich their ability to screen, assess and case manage through in-class simulations and case studies. Students will learn to manage risk, determine needs and intervene during crisis. Self-care strategies will be emphasized throughout the learning.

AM3003 Preparation for Placement in Addiction and Mental Health

The aim of this course is to prepare students for success as a professional Addiction and Mental Health Worker. This course will be interactive in providing students with opportunities to explore resources currently available in our community to support their success as a Mental Health and Addiction Worker. Students will define their learning styles and develop their own student success plan which will include self-care strategies, and approaches to prevent compassion fatigue and burn out. Students will explore the policies and practice procedures that will help prepare them for Field Placement. Students will learn about professional competencies required for Field Placement and required for employment as an Addiction and Mental Health Worker. Important themes that will be addressed will be workplace safety, de-escalation, suicide prevention and positive client engagement and collaboration.

EL1041 – Online Elective

General Education Courses are selected online each semester by the student from a list provided and exposes students to a related area of study outside of their immediate academic discipline. Certain programs have predetermined electives.

Semester 3
AM4003 Fieldwork Placement

This is a cooperate endeavour between the College Addiction and Mental Health Worker Program and various community agencies. Students are placed in agencies under supervision for a 650-hour duration. The objective is to provide students with a practical opportunity as a professional in training to integrate and apply entry-level knowledge, values and skills, while actively participating in the activities of the agency with staff and clients.

AM4002 Fieldwork Seminar

This course is a co-requisite of Fieldwork Placement. While on placement, students will attend four Seminar days. This in-class experience provides the opportunity to critically analyze the experiences that are occurring in the field. Students begin to understand the delicate balance between what they have learned in the classroom (theory, skills), the needs of clients and the requirements of agencies. Self-care will be emphasized as students transition from the role of student to that of entry-level professional.

Semester 4
SW3113 Working with Diverse Families

This course will examine how to work with and support Canadian families in contemporary society. Using an anti-oppressive and structural lens: students will examine challenges that Canadian families are facing and develop an awareness of the principles and values that guide human service practice with families. The many layers affecting families will be discussed, including (but not limited to); coupling, marriage, parenting, divorce and blended families. Students will be encouraged to examine their own family systems in light of the contemporary theories of family.

AM3013 Addictions and Mental Health Capstone

Students will explore specific populations and key issues in the field of addictions and mental health. Students will work in small groups to explore special populations and share the information with their peers. These populations include women (including pregnant women); older adults; youth; Indigenous people; LGBTTTIQ/Q communities; racialized communities; new Canadians; differently-abled individuals; those who are homeless; people with concurrent disorders, dual diagnosis, PTSD and survivors of interpersonal trauma/violence. This capstone course will be the vehicle for students to pull together all of the learning in the program, including theory, practice, group work skills and community engagement strategies to develop and present their project.

SW1093 Human Behaviour and the Social Environment

This course explores human development across the life span in the context of bio-psycho-social influences, including theories and knowledge about the range of social systems in which individuals live and diversity of human behaviour throughout the life cycle. Students will develop an understanding of the interactions between and among biophysical, social, psychological, and cultural systems as they affect human development and shape individual values, beliefs, worldviews and identities.

SW3153 Interpersonal Violence

This course focuses on the historical, social and cultural contexts of interpersonal violence in Canada. Students will acquire a broad understanding of child abuse and neglect, violence against women and members of the LGBTQ+ community, and intimate partner violence. This knowledge will then be applied to social service work interventions. In this course, students will also explore the social challenges of reducing and ultimately preventing interpersonal violence in the future.

EL2041 – Online Elective

General Education Courses are selected online each semester by the student from a list provided and exposes students to a related area of study outside of their immediate academic discipline. Certain programs have predetermined electives.

SW3123 Trauma-Informed Care and Crisis

This course is designed to introduce students to a variety of concepts related to trauma, trauma informed practice, crisis and crisis intervention. Students will adopt a trauma informed perspective as part of their Social Service Worker practice. Through case studies and role plays, students will learn how to be employ crisis intervention skills in a culturally appropriate manner. This course will build on the microskills that students have acquired in SSW Practice I, SSW Practice II and SSW Practice II Lab. Students will have the unique opportunity to apply their skills in different mock crisis situations.

AM2043 Integrated Approaches to Addiction and Mental Health Work

There is a tendency for addiction and mental health to be viewed separately from other areas such as trauma/violence as though they have unique causes and outcomes. Taking an integrated perspective not only improves the student’s understanding of addiction but also invites them to understand collaboration across disciplines rather than in silos. In this course, students will begin to link theory with practice in addiction and mental health work, demonstrating that how one understands addictions will determine the response to it. Students will reflect on their own “theories” of addiction and mental health, and will use this self-reflection as a starting point for discussion of key theoretical frameworks in the addiction and mental health field. Students will describe and examine their theories using the anti-oppressive approach. Students will apply their self-reflection and learning to include a multidimensional theory of addiction and mental health that takes into account biological, psychological, social and structural factors. Students will be able to apply addiction and mental health within a number of intersecting causes and influences with a range of individual, social and social-structural interventions and possible responses.

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