Durham College launches new Honours degree program in Community Mental Health

Four-year program will address the growing demand for mental illness supports in Canada

Oshawa, ON – As the federal and provincial governments emphasize the development of mental health support services as a priority to Canadians, Durham College (DC) is pleased to share that it has received consent from the Ministry of Colleges and Universities to offer a new degree program available starting September 2023, the Honours Bachelor of Community Mental Health (HBMH).

According to the National Mental Health Institute, one in two Canadians will experience mental illness by the age of forty. With the HBMH, students will be trained with the knowledge, skills, and expertise to support individuals, organizations and institutions across of variety of mental health areas and make a significant contribution to the health and well-being of our communities. As the fifth degree offered at DC, HBMH’s inaugural program intake is September 2023, where students will learn about counselling theory and skills, social psychology, professional practices and interventions and more.

“With one in five Canadians experiencing a mental illness each year, there is an unprecedented need for increased services and experts in the community mental health field,” says Dr. Elaine Popp, executive vice president, Academic. “Graduates of this interdisciplinary degree program will be able to create a meaningful impact on their community by supporting the mental health of diverse populations in Canada, including Indigenous peoples, immigrants, refugees, women and 2SLGBTQIA+ clients.”

HBMH will encompass multiple subjects, including psychology, counselling, health promotion, and social justice. Through a comprehensive mix of theoretical, research and applied courses, students will acquire the skills needed to become leaders in mental health services. There will also be an opportunity to bridge education into real-world experience with a 14-week mandatory field placement, allowing for the practical application of methods and techniques for working collaboratively in the industry.

“As the demand for mental health services grows in Canada, the next generation of graduates is entering a workforce that requires a complex combination of technical knowledge as well as soft skills like cultural sensitivity and social awareness,” says Don Lovisa, president. “Our excellence in blending theoretical education with experiential learning opportunities will give our students a competitive advantage among other new graduates and help them lead the way in the evolving landscape of mental health.”

HBMH graduates may apply to the Master of Counselling Psychology degree program at the University of Western Ontario or pursue graduate education at Carleton University or Sir Wilfred Laurier University, if desired. Career opportunities for HBMH grads are numerous and varied, from social workers to crisis counsellors to housing advocates.

To learn more about this exciting new program, please visit www.durhamcollege.ca/hbmh.


About Durham College

With campuses in Oshawa and Whitby, Durham College (DC) offers over 12,500 full-time post-secondary and apprenticeship students access to more than 145 programs, including four honours bachelor degrees and nine apprenticeship programs.

DC enables students to develop career-ready skills for the ever-changing job market by providing an exceptional college education. With a focus on experiential learning, led by expert faculty, through field placements, applied research, co-ops and other hands-on opportunities, DC grads are known for having the skills and knowledge employers need.

At the Oshawa campus, the Centre for Collaborative Education brings together local, Indigenous and global communities, featuring the Durham College Spa, Rotary Global Classroom and interprofessional simulation and anatomy labs. The campus is also home to four of the college’s applied research centres, including the AI Hub, Centre for Cybersecurity Innovation, Mixed Reality Capture Studio and Social Impact Hub. Additionally, the flexible, fully automated, and industrial-grade Integrated Manufacturing Centre serves as a model of the new standards in advanced manufacturing, mechatronics and engineering education.

At DC’s Whitby campus, the new 60,000-square-foot Ontario Power Generation Centre for Skilled Trades and Technology shines a spotlight on industrial skilled trades training, innovation and education, and includes a double-height shop lab, new classrooms and student touchdown spaces, among other features. The campus also features the W. Galen Weston Centre for Food, which is home to the award-winning full-service restaurant, Bistro ’67; retail store, Pantry, featuring food grown and prepared by students; and the Barrett Centre of Innovation in Sustainable Urban Agriculture and its community-inspired urban farm.  

Media contact:

Elyse Carney
Communications Officer
Communications + Marketing
Durham College