The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2020

Course handbook


This course extends students' knowledge and understanding of mental disorders and the related clinical and pharmacological interventions. An introduction to the spectrum of mental disorders encountered across the life-span, in a range of clinical contexts and in different cultural groups is provided. The effects of trauma and attachment difficulties upon emotional and physical development will provide a background to an emphasis on prevention, early intervention and recovery-oriented mental health care. Contemporary neurobiological understandings of anxiety, depression and schizophrenia will inform students' learning about quality use of medications specific to mental illness. Evidence-based psychological and psychosocial interventions, models of care and awareness of potential human rights violations are integral to this course. The importance of protective empowerment, recovery-oriented care, reflective practice and clinical supervision as a means of enhancing the clinician's capacity for therapeutic practice will be addressed.

Availability2020 Course Timetables


  • Semester 1 - 2020


  • Semester 2 - 2020

Port Macquarie Nth Coast Inst

  • Semester 2 - 2020

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. demonstrate the principles and practices of evidence based, recovery-oriented care specific to the care of a person living with mental illness

2. discuss the impact of health breakdown, the psychosocial dimensions of mental illness experience, and the effects on the family and significant others

3. demonstrate understanding of strategic directions and issues of relevance for recovery-oriented care including evidence based practice, protective empowerment, cultural competence, and respect for the rights and the needs of consumers, their family and carers

4. within a quality use of medication framework describe mechanisms by which neuroleptic medications ameliorate the symptoms of mental illness

5. describe contemporary neurobiological understandings of approaches for detecting, diagnosing and treating mental disorders such as anxiety, depression and schizophrenia

6. use the clinical reasoning cycle to explore selected clinical scenarios specific to mental health contexts

7. identify how therapeutic and interprofessional communication impact on recovery and risk mitigation

8. use reflective practice and self-evaluation to develop awareness of self, impacts personal attributes may have on consumers and to identify personal development needs and sources of support

9. demonstrate understanding of legal provisions and ethical concepts relevant to mental health care

10. Students will be required to demonstrate competence at second year level in relation to: a) communicate with people experiencing anxiety and distress; b) responding to a person who is hearing voices; c) conduct progressive muscle relaxation session; d) conduct mental status examination, including assessment of mood, thought content and behaviour; e)assessment of depression; suicide risk; psychosis; f) documentation using standardised mental health assessment forms; g) identification of issues relating to recovery-oriented care in acute services


This course addresses concepts in mental health in primary, secondary and tertiary care including concepts such the spectrum of mental disorders encountered across the life-span, effects of trauma and attachment difficulties upon emotional and physical development, early intervention, neurobiological understandings of depression and schizophrenia, quality use of medications, protective empowerment, human rights, recovery-oriented care and therapeutic practice.


This course is only available to students who are active in the Bachelor of Nursing program and have successfully completed NURS1101 and NURS1103 and successfully completed or are concurrently enrolled in NURS1201 and NURS1202.

Assumed knowledge

Concurrent enrolment or previous successful completion of Clinical Practice 2A (NURS 2102) and Foundations of Professional Practice 2A (NURS2101).

Assessment items

Presentation: Powerpoint presentation

Online Learning Activity: Online quiz

Formal Examination: Closed Book Examination - Accredited Program - use of Memory Aids are not permitted.

Participation: Non Graded Assessment Item - Mental Health Workshop

Contact hours

Callaghan, Ourimbah and Port Macquarie Nth Coast Inst


Face to Face On Campus 12 hour(s) per Term Full Term

Self-Directed Learning

Self-Directed 5 hour(s) per Week for Full Term


Face to Face On Campus 3 hour(s) per Week for 7 Weeks

Tutorials and Lectures can be delivered either face to face or online.


Face to Face On Campus 14 hour(s) per Term Full Term