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

Department of General Practice


Dr Claire Harrison



  • First semester 2016 (Online)
  • Second semester 2016 (Online)


Mental illness is a common affliction world-wide and an important problem facing General Practice. Unit MCM5501 will focus on two high prevalence categories of mental ill-health i.e. depressive and anxiety disorders.

Depressive and anxiety disorders are amongst the most common illnesses in the community and primary care. These conditions are mainly diagnosed and managed in this setting. As previous reports in the literature have expressed concern about the level of under-diagnosis and the 'low treated prevalence' of patients with mental disorders (which included depression and anxiety), the aim of this unit is to enable students to increase their skills assessing, identifying and managing patients with mental ill-health - specifically depressive and anxiety disorders.

The acquisition of skills and confidence that students are expected to develop in this unit will then hopefully make a difference to clinical practice and patients, translating into better patient outcomes, both in terms of the quality of care provided and the number of affected patients that are provided with assistance.


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

  1. Interpret the principal psychiatric classification system currently in use, and apply it, in conjunction with appropriate clinical reasoning skills, to determine whether or not a patient has a depressive or anxiety disorder.
  2. Determine the risk factors and underlying causes of depressive and anxiety disorders and argue how these influence treatment.
  3. Devise and implement a systematic approach to assessing the severity of different types of depressive and anxiety disorders, including their morbidity and mortality.
  4. Devise and implement a systematic approach to the management of depressive and anxiety disorders, which includes a synthesis of the best available evidence, in addition to considering patient wishes and circumstances, community resources and the clinician's experience.
  5. Distinguish between the presentations in general practice of different types of depressive and anxiety disorders.
  6. Devise a plan for future personal practice and professional development in the diagnosis and management of patients with depressive and anxiety disorders.


Summative assessment:
Case study on patient with a depressive disorder (2,500 words) (40%)
Case study on patient with an anxiety disorder (2,500 words) (40%)
Short answer questions (1 hour) (20%)

Throughout this unit there are a number of activities (discussion forums, individual wikis, group wikis, quizzes and virtual patients). Satisfactory participation in ALL of these activities is a requirement in order to progress through this unit.

Chief examiner(s)


CGP1002, CGP1003.