Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

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This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2016 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.

Monash University

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

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


Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Organisational Unit

School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health






The unit will examine the effects of culture on the construction and experince of mental illness and the implications of cultural and community structures for the delivery of mental health services. Major areas covered include explanatory models of mental illness, cultural and social factors shaping the metnal helath in the community with a focus on the mental health of Aboriginal, refugee, asylum seeker and migrant communities in Australia, racism and prejudice, cultural assumptions of standard methods of assessment and treatment, 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, refugee and asylum seeker experience, migration and re-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, refugee, asylum seeker and migrant communities in preparation for participation in policy development, service delivery and evaluation.


Essay (3,000 words) (50%)
Applied learning: Policy analysis (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.