According to new data released last monththerehas been a surge in the number of Australians accessing mental health services during the pandemic, as well as a rise in self-harm incidents presenting to emergency departments, and huge spikes in calls to support lines like Beyond Blue and Lifeline. While itis positive to see the Government address [...]


Skills shortage likely in the face of looming mental health crisis

Australians encouraged to consider careers to help support Australia’s future mental health needs

According to new data released last monththerehas been a surge in the number of Australians accessing mental health services during the pandemic, as well as a rise in self-harm incidents presenting to emergency departments, and huge spikes in calls to support lines like Beyond Blue and Lifeline.

While itis positive to see the Government address mental health issues in this year’s Federal Budget, academics at Australian tertiary education provider,Excelsia College, believe more measures need to be taken to grow and upskill the nation’s mental health workforce in the face of ongoing uncertainty, unemployment and economic hardship.

Associate Professor Ebi Cocodia, Head of the School of Counselling at Excelsia College

Commenting on the significant toll and long-term implications the pandemic will have on mental health, Associate Professor EbiCocodia, Head of the School of Counselling at Excelsia College, is urging Australians to consider careers to help support and respond to the nation’s future mental health needs.

“Australians’ mental health is at a critical tipping point. The pandemic has already taken a significant toll on the mental health of Australians and the long-term implications are expected to be felt for many years to come. Now is the time to build and grow a workforce that will ready the country to deal not only with the long-term impacts of COVID-19, but also cater for unforeseen social and environmental stressors that will impact Australians’ wellbeing in the coming years.

“With unemployment on the rise and job prospects across some of the hardest hit industries diminishing, there is a golden opportunity to encourage Australians to consider starting or transitioning to a career in mental health support services, like Social Work or Counselling, to help curb mental health issues,” she added.

Excelsia College, which offers post-graduate courses in Counselling, has just launched its new School of Social Work to accommodate the strong prospects for career growth in this field over the coming five to ten years.

Three reasons to consider a career in Counselling or Social Work:

1. Drive meaningful change in your community: Careers in Social Work and Counselling can be incredibly rewarding, equipping you with the skills and knowledge to help change lives by supporting and aiding people in times of need;

2. Unlock a diverse range of job prospects: Counselling and Social Work allow you to move across the human services and work in a variety of roles and fields of practice. From child protection, to drug and alcohol services, mental health, rehabilitation, disability services, corrections and youth justice, private practice and more, there is no shortage of choice. There is also a diverse range of roles available within these fields, including case managers, clinicians, researchers, community workers and more;

3. The increasing need and demand for qualified practitioners provides job security: The number of jobs in Counselling is expected to increase substantially over the next five years from 31,200 in 2019 to 38,000 in 2024. The same trend can also be seen for those considering a career in Social Work with an expected further 11,800 jobs by 2024. The increased need for these services means that job prospects in mental health and wellbeing services will continue to grow.

Master of Counselling

The Master of Counselling course provides advanced training in counselling theory and practice, with an introduction to a range of counselling specialisations. The postgraduate degree integrates mental health and wellness/strength-based models, encouraging and equipping counsellors to work with the whole person. The course aims to produce self-reflexive counsellors who can:

David Samuel, International Marketing Consultant, Excelsia College

i.   develop and maintain respectful, caring and collaborative therapeutic relationships; and

ii. effectively function both independently and within multi-disciplinary settings; prepare counsellors to work in a variety of settings with clients of diverse ages, backgrounds and life issues; highlight the importance of lifelong learning that is informed by counselling-focused research, set within ongoing professional development.

Professional Experience

Professional Placementincludes assisting students with locating placements, 100 direct client contact hours and 25 hours ofclinical supervision, along with free personal counselling. This combination meets the highest training standards as specified by the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) 2014 Training Standards.

This course is suited for:

current counsellors seeking additional training at a post-graduate level;

Individuals with undergraduate qualifications (or equivalent) wanting to enter the counselling profession;

Other professionals seeking to diversify and extend their current skill set or change career direction.

Master of Social Work (Qualifying)

The Master of Social Work (Qualifying) course meets the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) Practice Standards and is an entry qualification into the social work profession. Social Work is an academic practice-based profession that promotes social justice, inclusion and wellbeing. The MSW (Q) aims to produce graduates who are professionally competent, aware of socio-political realities in the human services and committed to social change through supporting and promoting the strengths of disadvantaged and vulnerable populations.

The focus is on face-to-face small classes and intensive interaction with fellow students and experienced social work academics. As Social Work engages with a changing world where social media, online material and interactivity are prevalent, student learning will also include blended learning technologies.

The learning will be delivered through workshops, case studies, in-class exercises, experiential learning strategies, flipped classrooms, social work laboratory, written reports, oral presentations, blogs, essays, and research reports. Finally, students will explore social work practice through field education practicums.

Excelsia College will provide as part of the course, 500 hours (65 weeks) of work placement each at the end of semester 1 and semester 3 of  the program.

Why study Social Work at Excelsia College:

A powerful, hands-on introduction to the world of social work;

Highly-qualified, friendly and experienced academic staff who are ready to help students on their journey;

Smaller class sizes where students are treated as more than just a number;

Study with a community of likeminded students;

Work placements that give hands on experience (500 hours per year) and professional skills in a range of settings (health, aged care, community services, child and family welfare, mental health, community work, research, policy and planning);

Course includes assisting students with locating professional practicums in agencies such as Anglicare, Catholic Care, Centrelink, Department of Community Services, Hospitals, Community Health Centres, Local Government,  and many others.

Prepare social work graduates to have a career locally, regionally and internationally.

To learn more about Excelsia College and courses on offer, please contact David Samuel, International Marketing Consultant, Excelsia College Sri Lanka Office – Email:; Website:


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