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

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 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 Social Work


Dr Melissa Petrakis




This unit introduces postgraduate students to the epistemologies of practice in mental health and a critical analysis of contemporary mental health issues. It provides advanced knowledge about the context and consequences of mental illness for individuals, families and the broader community. Social Work interfaces with a range of clients and practice contexts, in community and mental health, in disability, child protection, drug and alcohol and criminal justice systems. The unit provides an ecological approach to understanding and intervention in the mental health field.


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

  1. Articulate mental health practice and policy frameworks in Australia.
  2. Explain historical, social and political factors that have contributed to contemporary mental health practice and policy.
  3. Identify appropriate competencies for practice in mental health including legal and statutory responsibilities.
  4. Determine specific factors that contribute to and influence client mental health challenges and needs.
  5. Articulate and synthesize the objectives and practice approaches in the service system constructed to meet these mental health challenges and needs.
  6. Critically reflect upon the inter-disciplinary roles and contributions made by the key professional groups working in mental health service delivery in clinical and community settings.
  7. Critically evaluate service programs, their objectives and practice models, in mental health settings.
  8. Critically evaluate the research approaches, paradigms and methods being used to answer practice-based questions in mental health.
  9. Analyse contemporary mental health issues, including service delivery gaps, innovation opportunities and political priorities.


Online discussion participation (10%)
Critical reflection 1 (1,500 words) (20%)
Critical reflection 2 (1,500 words) (20%)
Major assignment (3,000 words) (50%) (Hurdle)

Workload requirements

Students in OCDL mode have the unit presented as a unit book which contains weekly seminar readings and exercises and may include an online teaching component. This unit runs for 12 weeks. Students are expected to undertake twelve hours per week study in addition to completing weekly unit tasks set readings.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

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

Additional information on this unit is available from the faculty at: