Mental Health Literacy

Facilitated by Dr. Shelley Carson

Learn practical tools for supporting clients with mental health challenges.

Designed specifically to empower coaches to work with individuals living with mental health issues. This course is a must for all coaches, no matter your field of expertise.

Dr. Shelley Carson facilitates our debut asynchronous course which enables you to learn at your own pace through our 6 module course, complete with videos, worksheets, quizzes, practical scenarios, and exercises.

7.5 CEU
  • ICF: 7.5 /
  • NBHWC: 6 /
  • Wellcoaches: 7.5

Learn at your own pace while gaining new information from leading professionals in the coaching and mental health field.

The Mental Health Literacy course provides coaches with a baseline understanding on 5 of the most common mental health issues displayed in the population: depression, anxiety, trauma, bipolar disorder, and addiction/substance abuse.

You will learn:
  • Understanding the signs and symptoms, neuroscience, and treatment opportunities for individuals experiencing mental health issues.
  • Engaging with clients in conversations about referrals to mental health professionals. Ways to start the conversation, and how to help clients know you are on their team.
  • Utilizing coaching tools and mental health assessments to help clients understand their journey with mental health, and clarity on where coaches can engage on this topic.

Who Will Benefit from This Course

  • Coaches who want to be able to gain proficiency and agility in responding to the mental health needs of their clients
  • Leaders who want to understand mental health and cultivate environments that are healthy for their teams
  • Mental Health Professionals who collaborate with coaches and want to establish processes to properly support individuals experiencing mental health issues
  • Individuals who are working to better support the mental health needs of their community


Dr. Shelley Carson

As a researcher and instructor at Harvard University, Dr. Shelley Carson, Ph.D. has been a consultant and expert on the topics of psychopathology, creativity, and resilience since she received her doctorate from Harvard in 2001. She also serves as Director of Education & Research of the Academy for Brain Health and Performance and is a Founding Scientist/Scholar of the Florida Gulf Coast-based Brain Health Initiative.



In the introduction module, Dr. Shelley Carson covers an introduction to Mental Health Literacy, the difference between coaching and therapy, and the etiology of mental health disorders. Shelley is joined by Dr. Jacques Bradwejn in a conversation about the importance of wellness in coaching, along with a discussion with Dr. Richard Shwartz and IOC Founder Margaret Moore on the role Internal Family Systems have with coaches.

Introduction Main Objectives
Introduction Objectives
Introduction to Mental Health Literacy
Course Introduction
Course Introduction Video
Preparation for Mental Health Literacy Course
Why Mental Health Literacy is Important
Weighing Experiences
Etiology Introduction
Defining Mental Disorders
Understanding Mental Disorders
Current Models
Underlying Predispositions
Recognizing Predispositions
For Your Toolkit: Predispositions
Dysregualtion of Neurotransmitters
Biological Factors of Mental Disorders
Sociocultural Levels
Struggling with Risk Factors
Diathesis Stress Model
Discussing Cultural Backgrounds
Wisdom From Coaches: Etiology
Importance of Wellness
Wellness Introduction
Internal Family Systems
Internal Family Systems Introduction
Internal Family Systems
Coaching Vs. Therapy
Coaching Vs. Therapy Introduction
Coaching Vs. Therapy
Blurring Lines Between Coaching and Therapy
Mental Health Continuum
Wisdom from Coaches: Difference of Coaching and Therapy
Code of Ethics

In the depression module, Dr. Shelley Carson covers an introduction to depression, followed with videos including neuroscience, what coaches can do, and how to handle referrals. Shelley’s videos are accompanied by Wisdom From a Coach videos, where IOC Directors Dr. Jeff Hull and Dr. Pamela Larde discuss how coaches can apply the wealth of information from Dr. Carson.

Depression Objectives
Depression Objectives
Introduction to Depression
Depression Introduction
Module Introduction
Encountering Depression
Wisdom from a Coach
Considering Depression
Depression Pre-module Survey
Depression Pre-module Survey
Neuroscience of Depression
Neuroscience Introduction
Neuroscience of Depression
Referrals to Therapy
Neurochemical Imbalances of Depression
Prefrontal Cortex in Depression
Wisdom from a Coach on Neuroscience
Neuroscience Toolkit Resources
Depression What You Can Do
What You Can Do Introduction
What You Can Do
Major Depressive Disorder
Major Depressive Disorder Criteria
Depression Evidence Based Treatments
Introduction to Evidence-based Treatment
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Interpersonal Therapy
Additional Treatments
PHQ-9 Introduction
Depression Screening Tool
When to Refer
Referral Wisdom of a Coach
PHQ-9 Toolkit
Depression Vignette
Depression Vignette
Making A Depression Referral
Making Referrals
Depression Quiz
Criterion for Diagnosing Major Depressive Disorder
Major Depression
Potential Causal Factors
Reducing Depression
True Evidence Based Treatment
Coaching Strategies
Neuroscience Monoanimes
Depression Neuroscience Facts
PHQ 9 Scores
Noticing Signs
Depression Post-module Survey
Depression Post-module Survey
Final Review
Depression Classic Review
Depression Interactive Review

In the anxiety module, Dr. Shelley Carson covers an introduction to anxiety, along with an anxiety screening tool for coaching to use, neuroscience, and what coaches can do. Dr. Jeff Hull and Dr. Pamela Larde return to discuss how coaches may utilize the anxiety screening tool along with other aspects fo application.

Anxiety Objectives
Anxiety Objectives
Anxiety Introduction
Anxiety Introduction
Anxiety Responses
Presentation of Anxiety
Anxiety Pre-Module Survey
Anxiety Pre-Module Survey
Anxiety Neuroscience
Introduction to Anxiety Neuroscience
Neuroscience of Anxiety
Limbic System Response
Wisdom from a Coach
Responding to Fear
For Your Toolkit: Anxiety
What You Can Do For Anxiety
What You Can Do for Anxiety Introduction
What You Can Do
Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety Disorders
Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety
DSM 5 Criteria
Anxiety Evidence-based Treatment
Anxiety Treatment Introduction
Additional Treatments
Anxiety Referrals
When to Make an Anxiety Referral
How to Make an Anxiety Referral
GAD-7 Introduction
Anxiety Screening Tool
Wisdom from a Coach: GAD-7
Anxiety Vignette
Anxiety Vingette
Anxiety Quiz
Anxiety Disorder Truths
Non-Anxiety Disorders
Generalized Anxiety
GAD-7 Screeners
Panic Attacks and Anxiety
Limbic Structures
Anxiety with Prefrontal Cortex
Referring to Mental Health Professionals
Effective Treatments for Anxiety
Evidence-Based Pharmaceuticals
Anxiety Post-module Survey
Anxiety Post-module Survey
Final Review
Classic Review
Interactive Review

In the bipolar module, Dr. Shelley Carson covers an introduction to bipolar disorder, neuroscience, what coaches can do, and how coaches fit into a client’s mental health team. Dr. Jeff Hull joins Shelley in a discussion around topics coaches may have questions with when it comes to working with clients who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Bipolar Objectives
Bipolar Objectives
Introduction to Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar Signs and Symptoms
Hypomania of Bipolar
Wisdom From Coaches: Bipolar
Bipolar Pre-module Survey
Bipolar Pre-module Survey
Neuroscience of Bipolar
Neuroscience of Bipolar Introduction
Neuroscience of Bipolar
Working with Bipolar Disorders
Wisdom From Coaches: Bipolar Neuroscience
What You Can Do for Bipolar
What You Can Do Bipolar Introduction
What You Can Do
Bipolar Vignette
Wisdom From Coaches: Bipolar Vignette
Evidence Based Treatments For Bipolar
Bipolar Diagnostic Criteria
Evidence Based Treatments
Signs and Symptoms
MDQ Introduction
Mood Disorder Questionnaire
Mood Disorder Experiences
Interview with Jeffrey Hull
Introduction to Dr. Jeffrey Hull
Interview with Jeffrey Hull
Bipolar Quiz
Criterion for Manic Episodes
Suffering from Bipolar
Bipolar Facts
MDQ Facts
Potential Causes of Bipolar
Neuroscience of Bipolar Facts
Bipolar Disorder Facts
Interpersonal Stress with Bipolar
Management of Bipolar
Strategies for Bipolar
Bipolar Post-module Survey
Bipolar Post-module Survey
Final Review
Classic Review
Interactive Review
Substance Abuse/Addiction

In the substance abuse and addiction module, Dr. Shelley Carson covers an introduction to substance abuse and addiction, along with neuroscience and what coaches can do. Dr. Pamela Larde is joined by Ron Chapman MSW, as they discuss what coaches can do to support individuals who are working through substance abuse or addiction, and the importance of the coaches role to reduce stigma.

Substance Abuse Objectives
Abuse Objectives
Introduction to Substance Abuse
Substance Abuse Introduction
Wisdom from a Coach
Substance Abuse Pre-module Survey
Substance Abuse Pre-module Survey
Neuroscience of Substance Abuse
Neuroscience of Substance Abuse
Neuroscience of Abuse
Experience with Alcohol Abuse
Challenges and Oppurtunities
What You Can Do For Substance Abuse
Substance Abuse What You Can Do Introduction
What You Can Do
Recongnizing Dependancies
Wisdom from Coaches: What You Can Do
Interview with Ron Chapman
Interview with Ron Chapman Introduction
Interview with Ron Chapman
Evidence Based Treatments for Substance Abuse
Introduction to Evidence-based Treatment for Abuse
Diagnostic Criteria
Physical Signs and Symptoms
Additional Treatments
Substance Abuse Vignette
Substance Abuse Vignette
Supporting the Self
Support the Self Introduction
Wisdom From Coaches: Supporting the Self
Substance Abuse Quiz
Criterion for Diagnosing Substance Abuse
Suffering from Substance Use
Potential Causal Factors
Alcohol Consumption
Tolerance of Substances
Rewards Centers of the Brain
Diagonsis of Substance Abuse
Mindful Practices
Evidence Based Treatments
Noticing Signs
Substance Abuse Post-module Survey
Abuse Post-module Survey
Final Review
Classic Review
Interactive Review

In the trauma module, Dr. Shelley Carson talks about how trauma shows up in individuals, along with the neuroscience of trauma and what coaches can do. Dr. Pamela Larde, and Shelley have a discussion on trauma and coaching, with specific focus on the subject of post-traumatic growth.

Trauma Objectives
Trauma Objectives
Introduction to Trauma
Trauma Introduction
Traumatic Experiences
Wisdom from a Coach
Trauma Pre-module Survey
Trauma Pre-module Survey
Neuroscience of Trauma
Neuroscience Introduction
Neuroscience of Trauma
Clients with Trauma
Traumatic Changes in The Brain
Discussing Trauma
Wisdom from a Coach
Traumatic Experiences
Evidence Based Treatments For Trauma
Diagonistic Critrea
Treatment Options
Signs and Symptoms of Trauma
Trauma Vignette
Trauma Vignette
Dealing With Trauma
Dealing with Trauma in Coaching Introduction
Dealing with Trauma in Coaching
Trauma Quiz
Post Tramatic Stress Criterion
Unresolved Traumatic Experiences
PTSD Treatments
Resolving Symptoms of Trauma
Defining Trauma
Administering Beta Blockers
Aftermaths of Trauma
Coaching Strategies for Trauma
Postiive Psychological Changes
Brain States of PTSD
Trauma Post-module Survey
Trauma Post-survey
Final Review
Classic Review
Interactive Review
Final Knowledge Check
Final Knowledge Check Intro
Course Completion

Certificate of Completion and CEUs

Individuals who complete this Institute of Coaching course will receive a certificate of completion. This certificate can be shared on social media and exemplifies how coaches have chosen to work on their ability to understand, work with, and provide referrals for mental health.

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This course includes

  • Text-Based Curriculum
  • Self-Paced Format
  • CEUs for ICF, NBHWC & WC
  • IOC Course Certificate
  • Community Space


How long will this course take?

This course has about twelve hours of content. Registrants will be free to proceed at your desired pace.

Are there cohorts for this course?

No, this course is asynchronous and has an open enrollment. You will be able to begin this course at any time in the calendar year. To accompany the course, we have a proposed itinerary and sequence that can guide you through the course and its modules.

Is this course completely asynchronous?

Yes, the main portion of this course is completely asynchronous. Members of the Institute of Coaching will also be able to participate with discussion groups that the IOC will host throughout the year that have topics that directly pertain to content with the mental health literacy course.

What will I learn in this course?

Individuals taking this course will learn about common mental health issues. The neuroscience and background of these issues. What tools they have at their disposal to assist individuals dealing with mental health issues. The difference between coaching and therapy and what coaches are ethically allowed to do. When and how to refer clients to mental health professionals. How you can be a member of a client’s mental health team in partnership with psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists, and other medical professionals.

What topics are covered in this course?

The modules covered in this course are: depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, substance abuse and addiction, and trauma.

Do I receive certification for this course?

Yes, this course will allow individuals to receive credits for continuing education from ICF, Wellcoaches, and NBHWC. Along with credits from these organizations, individuals will also receive a certificate of completion of the Institute of Coaching’s Mental Health Literacy Course.

Do I need to be an IOC member to take this course?

No, this course is open to both IOC members and non-members. You do not need to be an IOC member to complete this course and receive the certificate of completion. Members of the IOC will have access to additional IOC resources, some of which are not available to the general public. Along with these additional resources, IOC members will have access to IOC discussion groups.

Can I talk with other people taking the course?

Yes, although this course is completely asynchronous, we want to provide a space to discuss, learn, and grow. Everyone deserves to have support with their mental health, and there is a lot to learn to properly support individuals who are experiencing mental health issues or a mental health crises. To support our course attendees, we have a community space available where individuals can discuss what they are learning in a closed environment with other course participants. We encourage our course participants to enter this space and view it as a learning experience for themselves and everyone they encounter.

Who is the courses’ instructor?

The Institute of Coaching is proud to have Dr. Shelley Carson of Harvard’s Psychology Department host this course as our primary instructor.

Does this course have guest speakers?

Yes, Dr. Shelley Carson is accompanied by several guest speakers and independent speakers throughout the course. These guest speakers include the Institute of Coaching’s own Dr. Jeffery Hull, Dr. Pamela Larde, and Founder Margaret Moore.
Additional guest speakers are psychologists and therapists Dick Schwartz, and Ron Chapman, along with Dr. Jacques Bradwejn.

Who is this course for?

This course is primarily built for any coach who is interacting with clients who may be experiencing some level of mental health issue or mental health affect. Individuals who are not coaches, such as managers, industry leaders, HR professionals, etc. will also benefit from this course.
This course is not a substitute for working with a mental health professional. If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, please contact a mental health provider or a mental health hotline in your jurisdiction.

How do I access the community space?

For joining the Mental Health Literacy community space, follow the instructions below to access the community space in Microsoft Teams:

  1. Click here to log into Microsoft Teams.
  2. Once logged in, switch organization to Institute of Coaching.
What are the requirements for receiving CEUs on the courses?

Must complete all modules in the course and complete the final evaluation in order to receive CEUs.

How will I receive my CEUs?

You will receive an email upon completion of the course with a link to download your certificate. You can access this certificate anytime after receipt via a dashboard that allows you to save it as a pdf, add it to your LinkedIn certifications and share on social media!

Have more questions? Contact us at [email protected]