Certificate in Mental Health Program



The Center seeks to attract and train masters, doctoral, and post-doctoral students interested in mental health and substance use research and policy.  An interdepartmental certificate program established in 2006 provides students with training in issues related to mental health and sponsors a speaker series featuring local, national, and international experts in mental health and public health.

Certificate Program Information

The Mental Health Certificate program provides students with the opportunity to develop a knowledge base and skill set that will prepare them to become public mental health practitioners. Mental health is integral to and inseparable from public health.  Mental disorders, including substance abuse and neurodevelopmental disorders, are the leading cause of disability and contribute to approximately 8 million deaths worldwide each year. The resulting public health and financial burdens are substantial both in the US and globally, radically altering the life trajectories of individuals, their families and their communities. Yet, fewer than half of people with mental disorders receive treatment for their conditions, and when they do, the quality of treatment is substandard. To effectively address the challenges of mental disorders, a public mental health workforce is needed to develop, implement, and disseminate programs and policies to prevent mental disorders, increase access to quality treatment, and improve quality of life for those suffering with mental disorders. Students interested in examining public mental health issues at multiple levels of influence utilizing a cross-disciplinary perspective are encouraged to consider the Mental Health Certificate. 

Learning Objectives

Students with a certificate in Mental Health will be able to:

  • Apply and critically evaluate epidemiological methods establishing case definitions and determining the incidence and prevalence of mental illness and related disability
  • Describe the incidence and prevalence of mental disorders, related disabilities and their social correlates
  • Identify how culture influences the expression of symptoms, seeking of care and response to treatment
  • Describe how the US currently finances mental health services and its cost burden for individuals and society
  • Describe proposed policies for improving access to and qualify of mental health services in the US and assess their strengths and weaknesses
  • Describe the mental health advocacy community and their avenues for influencing mental health policy
  • Integrate mental health into a comprehensive view of public health
  • Apply expertise form the major program of study to mental health or mental health services

Certificate Program Requirements

  • BSHE 592/HPM 592, Case Studies in Public Mental Health, 2 credit hours: This course is the core course for the Certificate in Mental Health. Offered each spring, any current first-year student enrolled in the master of public health or the master of science in public health program at Rollins who plans to pursue the certificate in mental health must enroll in BSHE 592/HPM 592. Participating certificate students will be identified based on their enrollment in this course.
  • Completion of a practicum (minimum of 200 hours) related to public mental health
  • Thesis or capstone project on topic in public mental health
  • A minimum of six credit hours from the following courses (or from courses approved by Dr. Benjamin Druss, Dr. Delia Lang, or Zarie Riley):

BSHE 512 Medical Sociology, 3 credit hours

BSHE 516 Behavioral Epidemiology, 3 credit hours

BSHE 560R Mental Health Seminar, 1 credit hour

BSHE 565 Violence as a Public Health Problem, 1 credit hour

BSHE 581 Stress Reduction, 1 credit hour

BSHE 585 Public Mental Health, 1 credit hour

BSHE 586 Prevention of Mental and Behavioral Disorders, 2 credit hours

BSHE 587 Seminar in Substance Abuse, 2 credit hours

BSHE 588 Addiction, the Brain, History and Culture, 3 credit hours

BSHE 589 Mental Illness, Public Health and American Culture in Interdisciplinary Perspective, 3 credit hours

BSHE 591M/EH 580 Injury and Violence Prevention, 2 credit hours

EPI 560R  Psychosocial EPI, 2 credit hours

GH 531 Mental Health in Complex Humanitarian Emergencies, 1 credit hour

HPM 563 Long Term Care Policy and Practice, 2 credit hours

HPM 577 Mental Health/Medical Interface, 2 credit hours

SOC 330 Mental Health and Well-Being, 4 credit hours

SOC 513, Perspectives on Mental Health, 2 credit hours

Any 300 level or above Psychology classes

If the topic of the capstone or thesis cannot relate to public mental health, four additional credits of electives may be substituted with the permission of the certificate coordinator. Permission for the substitution must be obtained early in the second year of the program.


For inquiries about the Certificate in Mental Health, please contact:

Delia Lang, Associate Research Professor
Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education
Rollins School of Public Health
1518 Clifton Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30322
tel: (404) 727-3515

Zarie Riley, MA, Program Administrator

Benjamin Druss, MD, MPH, Program Co-Director

Delia Lang, PhD, MPH, Program Co-Director