Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Monash University

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2015 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 3, 0.125 EFTSL

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

FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
Organisational UnitSchool of Psychological Sciences
OfferedClayton Second semester 2015 (Off-campus)
Coordinator(s)Dr Shiva Vasi


The effects of cultural background on the definitions of mental illnesses and the implications of cultural and community structures for the delivery of mental health services. Major areas covered include adaptation and acculturation, characteristics of Aboriginal and ethnic communities in Australia, racism and prejudice, the mental health of Aboriginal and immigrant communities in Australia, cultural assumptions of standard methods of assessment and treatment, explanatory models of illness, State mental health policy, psychiatric service utilisation, and gaps in current service provision.


Upon successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. Develop a greater sensitivity to the impact of trauma, migration and settlement on mental health;
  2. Explore definitions of mental illness across cultures and the continuing debate concerning differing conceptions of mental illness;
  3. Gain an understanding of the cultural factors in assessment and treatment approaches;
  4. Gain knowledge of the major national and Victorian policy approaches to providing mental health services to Aboriginal and ethnic communities; and
  5. Develop an understanding of current gaps in service provision to Aboriginal and ethnic communities in preparation for participation in policy development, service delivery and evaluation.


Essay (3,000 words) (50%)
Applied Learning Exercises (1,500 words) (25%)
On-campus Workshop / Alternative Assessment (10%)
Moodle participation and contribution (15%)

All assessments must be passed to pass the unit.

Chief examiner(s)

Off-campus attendance requirements

Two day on-campus workshop.