Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2014 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
Organisational UnitSchool of Psychological Sciences
OfferedClayton First semester 2014 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Denisa Goldhammer


Each day we face problems of our time that impact on our own and others' mental health and wellbeing. These include challenges to personal identity and well-being, and behaviours such as problem gambling, binge drinking, and inappropriate drug use which can affect individual health and impact severely on the health and wellbeing of others in the community. The unit will employ diverse teaching and learning methods, with the involvement of community members with lived experience, to discuss the history of asylums, deinstitutionalisation and recovery, drug and alcohol misuse, gambling, gender, sexuality and trans identity, mental health and ageing, suicide and its prevention, and how social exclusion contributes to poor mental health.

Students will gain an appreciation of psychological approaches in understanding and addressing these, and will be introduced to contemporary approaches that normalise certain behaviours and support people with mental health problems in the community. In undertaking the unit, students will gain familiarity with real life problems faced by people who struggle with personal difficulties, skills in critical thinking relevant to mental health and wellbeing, and the capacity to analyse responses to particular social and mental health problems.

The unit will provide students with skills to enable them to participate in the multidisciplinary workforces that address these questions in local, state and federal government departments, and in NGOs, small community-based organisations, and peer support groups.


Upon completion of this unit, students will have the ability to:

  1. Discuss examples of contemporary social behaviour, identities and practices that impact mental health, and appreciate how social and psychological factors that influence these;
  2. Describe the association between social circumstances and common problematic behaviours and practices;
  3. Critique different approaches to mental health and behavioural problems designed to assist recovery;
  4. Demonstrate a capacity for critical thinking in relation to topical social problems; and
  5. Describe the challenges involved at policy, community and interpersonal levels in ensuring good mental health.


Lab class participation and presentation (10%)
Weekly online pre-lecture quiz (10%) (Assessed on an ongoing basis throughout the semester)
Essay (2,000 words) (30%)
Quantitative examination (50%)

Hurdle: Students must pass the examination to achieve a pass for this unit.

Chief examiner(s)

Workload requirements

3 hours of contact per week on average, 4 hours planned activities (workbook and chat), 5 hours background reading to lecture, reading for tutorial and assessment tasks.

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


Must be enrolled in course 3883.