Mental Disorder: Critical Practice Approaches

Course code SPSW3008
Not available in 2016


This course links theoretical perspectives of mental health and disorder to their practical application in the context of social and community care. In particular, it critiques contemporary policy and intervention programs from a strengths-based anti-discriminatory perspective.


Not currently available.

This Course was last offered in Semester 2 - 2015.

Learning Outcomes

1. Understand the different theoretical perspectives used in the study and analysis of community mental health policy and practice.

2. Build a knowledge of key ideologies, discourses of mental health, and their pragmatic prescriptions for policy development and implementation.

3. Recognise and critically evaluate some of the assumptions, values and interests influencing the development of community-based social care and mental health interventions.

4. Critically evaluate and analyse policies, intervention programs and community mental health research

5. Write academic essays, reports, tutorial presentations, research, theoretical and methodological skills


  1. Introduction: Social Causes and Consequences of Mental Illness.
  2. Social reactions to Mental Illness.
  3. The Relationship between public attitudes and professional labels.
  4. Medicalisation of Deviant Behaviour as Mental Illness.
  5. Deinstitutionalisation and Community Mental Health.
  6. Policy Programs and Community Based Services.
  7. Psychopolitics: Feminist Critiques.
  8. Individual Rights and the Mental Health System.
  9. Cross Cultural Issues.
  10. Radical accounts of policy trends: Capitalist economies and welfare provision.
  11. Anti-Discriminatory and Anti-Oppressive Perspectives.
  12. Confronting injustice and oppression: Strategies for social action.
  13. Emanicipatory Participative Action Research
  14. Comparative Mental Health Policy

Assumed Knowledge

SPSW1001 Intro to Human Service and Community Welfare or equivalent.

Assessment Items

Essay: Major Essay

Presentation: Seminar Presentation

Contact Hours



Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term