About The Course

Behavioral and mental health problems can affect anyone. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly 20% of U.S. adults currently have a mental illness. And the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that substance abuse was among the most common medical conditions in the U.S.

Behavioral Healthcare is designed to introduce community health workers, patient navigators, volunteers, administrative personnel and other non-clinical workers to mental and behavioral health conditions and interventions. It also helps prepare participants to find and choose the best resources for the client.

This course describes some of the most common mental and behavioral health issues encountered in a community health or other non-clinical setting and provides examples of screening tools and resources that individuals and agencies can use.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Mental Health Disorders - Recognize major mental disorders and substance abuse encountered in the non-clinical setting.
  2. Warning Signs - Recognize the warning signs of depression, dementia, and substance and alcohol abuse.
  3. Substance Abuse Screening Methods - Understand and execute drug and alcohol screening tools and interventions.
  4. Communication Skills - Interact compassionately and empathetically with individuals who have a behavioral health disorder.
  5. Referrals - Create referral plans for sending clients to local and national agencies and services that can handle treatment.

Course Format

The course is four weeks, each taking approximately 2-3 hours to complete with no scheduled check-in time. Participants practice new skills with activities, discussions and worksheets.

  1. A welcome week, during which participants get to know each other and the instructor
  2. Overview of behavioral health disorders and communication techniques
  3. Substance abuse and screening methods includingSBIRT and DAST
  4. A closer look at serious mental illnesses and communication techniques, plus the course conclusion.


This course is also available in Spanish.


Participants in Behavioral Healthcare will receive these free course materials:

  • Easy-to-use private online learning site with access to all program information, support, and resources in one place
  • A comprehensive welcome kit and discussion guide (for administrators and educators)
  • CHW Training blog that can help you stay up to date on announcements and benefits
  • CHW Training newsletters that keep you up-to-date with offers and best practices
  • Certificate of Completion for students who have successfully completed the course

What Students Are Saying

"I really appreciated the resources provided at the end of the course. I'll definitely be using them in the future, and reading through them one by one."

Aurela Sequoia, Participant