Competency Category:

3.6 – Help Clients Manage Mental Health

Purpose & Context

Career Development Professionals (CDPs) collaborate with clients to understand their current mental health and to identify and implement strategies to improve, or sustain mental health. CDPs help clients recognize that all individuals have periods when their mental health is above or below its usual level.Mental health is distinct and differentiated from mental illness. CDPs recognize that symptoms of mental illness, as well as stigma associated with it, will need to be accounted for in the career development process. While providing assessment, treatment or clinical support for mental illness is beyond the scope of a CDP, they may work with the client on career development issues together with other professionals providing treatment and support for the mental illness.

Effective Performance

Competent career development professionals must be able to:

  • P1. Maintain a relationship of trust, respect and open communication, i.e. working alliance
  • P2. Assess current mental health by exploring factors with client, such as their sense of contribution to society,perceptions of coping/mastery, feelings of meaning/purpose, quality of relationships, and sense of

    • Recognize if client mental health is improving or deteriorating
    • Recognize commons signs of mental health challenges
  • P3. Normalize typical fluctuations along the continuum of mental health, for example:
    • Nervousness about an upcoming event
    • Sadness about a recent loss
    • Frustration about recent challenges
  • P4. Identify aspects of client’s life that may contribute to poor mental health, e.g. lack of sleep, poor diet, stress
  • P5. Identify factors within client’s control that may contribute to positive mental health, e.g. healthy diet, regular
    sleep pattern, meditation, journaling, breathing exercises, physical activity
  • P6. Develop and implement an action plan to reduce activities/situations that contribute to poor mental health and
    increase activities/situations that contribute to positive mental health
  • P7. Reassess client mental health and adjust action plan, as needed
  • P8. Refer cases beyond scope to external service provider

Knowledge & Understanding

Competent career development professionals must know and understand:

  • K1. Significant issues commonly faced by clients that could affect their mental health, e.g. poverty, systemic racism,
    post-traumatic stress, learning disabilities, unstable/unsafe housing, food insecurity, physical health challenges,
  • K2. Factors underpinning mental health, e.g. sense of contribution to society, their coping/mastery, feelings of
    meaning/purpose, quality of relationships, and sense of satisfaction/happiness
  • K3. Distinction between mental health challenges and mental illness
  • K4. Common symptoms of mental illness, e.g. hallucinations, delusions, compulsive behaviours
  • K5. Community resources and other support services available to clients from community partners and other agencies,

    • Eligibility criteria for these services
    • Quality of these services
    • Referral process for these services
  • K6. Legislation and regulations relating to employment, e.g. Human Rights Legislation, Canada Labour Code, Privacy Act,
    Workers Compensation Act and Employment Standards, Health and Safety regulations

Contextual Variables

Competent career development professionals must be able to perform this competency in the following range of contexts:

Clients may present with multiple mental health challenges which will add complexity in performing this competency.

Glossary & Key References


Industry-specific terms contained in the standard defined here, where applicable.

Informed consent: client’s right to be informed, understand and agree to the services to be provided, roles and responsibilities of the service provider, including how and for what reasons information collected during the process may be released to others.. Informed consent is obtained at the beginning of a process and may be required if the nature of the services provided are later updated or revised. A signed form or statement of consent is required as proof of consent

Information Sources and Resources for Consideration

Redekopp, D. E., & Huston, M. Strengthening mental health through effective career development: A practitioner’s guide. Toronto, ON: CERIC, 2020.

Keyes, C.L.M. The mental health continuum: From languishing to flourishing in life. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 43, 2002, pp 207–222.

Context Rating Scales


Q: What is the consequence of a professional being unable to perform this skill according to the standard?

Moderate risk: CRITICAL


Q: How frequent and under what conditions is this skill performed?

Routinely, regular course of procedure

Level of Difficulty

Q: Under routine circumstances, how would you rate the level of difficulty in performing this skill?

Moderate difficulty or complexity

Time Required to Gain Proficiency

Q: What is the average length of time or number of repeated events that are minimally necessary for an individual to become proficient in performing the skill to the standard?

A competent career development professional requires a minimum of one year of experience with at least 40 different clients, representing a broad range of individuals.


Practitioners typically perform this competency without supervision, and alone.


It is unlikely that this competency will automate.

Requisite Work Aids, Tools, Equipment or Materials


Career Development Professional Centre

Help us cultivate a community we all enjoy by reviewing and following the Code of Conduct.  

Our Purpose  

Thank you for being a part of the online CDPC social learning community. To ensure that all members have the best possible experience, we have a few ground rules that we ask everyone to adhere to. This code of conduct applies equally to every person in the community and is intended to foster an online space that is inclusive, safe, and welcoming to all. 

Community Rules 

Be welcoming 

We strive to be a community that welcomes and supports people of all backgrounds and identities. We aim to create and facilitate a community that promotes excellence and innovation in career and workforce development. Please extend respect to all members; we all come from different backgrounds and levels of knowledge and there is no such thing as a stupid question. 

Be respectful 

We won’t all agree all the time, but when we disagree don’t let those disagreements turn into personal attacks. A community where people feel uncomfortable or threatened will not be a productive one. Instead, when having discussions in the online community, create productive conversations around the content being presented, not the person behind the content. Any post that is determined to be “hate speech” towards any individual or group will be deleted, and the user account may be locked until an investigation regarding the post has been concluded. The user may be given a written warning or removed from the CPDC community platform depending on the findings of the investigation.  

Hate Speech could include and is not limited to:  

  • Violent threats or language directed against another person 
  • Discriminatory jokes, language, or materials 
  • Defamatory or abusive language or materials 
  • Profane or illegal materials 
  • Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behavior 

A good rule of thumb is to never post anything that you wouldn’t be comfortable with the world seeing or that you wouldn’t want anyone knowing came from you. We ask that you keep in mind the focus of this community, which is building excellence and innovation in career and workforce development for all individuals.  

Be considerate of the purpose of the community 

This community will be focused on building excellence and discussing innovation in the career and workforce development field. The goal of this community is to communicate goals, challenges, constructive feedback, and questions in relation to career and workforce development. The community should be a place for continued learning and development as well as a place to discuss the future of our field (solicitation without written consent by the Project or Advisory team, is strictly prohibited). Any post that is determined to be soliciting any individual or group will be deleted, and the user account may be locked until an investigation regarding the post has been concluded. The user may be given a written warning or removed from the CPDC community platform depending on the findings of the investigation. 

Post your discussions or documents in the most appropriate group or topic 

Make reasonable efforts to ensure that posts and materials are allocated to the appropriate group or topic. This will prevent cluttering the community and make it easier for everyone to find the information that they are seeking. Individuals who do this repeatedly will be contacted by one of the group admins and asked to follow these guidelines.  

Privacy and Release of Information  

CDPC-CEDC will not release your information to any third-party agencies.  

Group Admins 

There are four group admins who are available to you. Below are their names and their spoken language. 

Heather Powell | Anglophone 

Gabrielle St-Cyr | Francophone/Anglophone 

Florence Desrochers | Francophone/Anglophone

Muriel Andoblé-Yao | Francophone

Thank you and welcome to the CDPC Community!