CMH5002 - The context for mental health practice - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 1, 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


Ms Jill Gray

Unit guides




This unit explores historical, social and political factors influencing the evolution of mental health services in Australia and the major shifts over time in the treatment and care of people with a mental illness. The unit begins with an examination of the theoretical perspectives, influences and trends in mental health care, and moves to a focus on the Australian mental health care system and how it responds to the needs of the Australian community.

Two particular areas of need and experience are considered, those of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and those of people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

The mental health service system in different states and territories is examined and the emerging participation of primary care services in delivering mental health care. The unit concludes with a consideration of the mental health service system's responsibility and response with regard to the human rights of people with mental illness.

Contents include:

  • History of mental illness and its care - an overview.
  • Social power and mental illness.
  • Mental illness - responses from the community.
  • The global perspective.
  • Mental health policy in Australia.
  • Mental Disorder in Australia.
  • The particular needs of indigenous peoples.
  • The particular needs of people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
  • Services in the specific states and territories.
  • Mental health service reform - the case of Victoria.
  • A rights-based model of mental health practice.


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

  1. Identify major contextual influences on mental health service delivery in Australia
  2. Demonstrate a knowledge of the major components of the community-based framework of mental health services in Australia
  3. Integrate their knowledge of policy frameworks and epidemiology with the design of service systems in mental health services
  4. Demonstrate a knowledge of the range of perspectives of stakeholders actively engaged in mental health care delivery
  5. Identify the special needs of people from an indigenous and culturally diverse backgrounds
  6. Critically appraise the reform of mental health service delivery in Australia through the case study of Victoria.


  • Hurdle requirement: Participation in a minimum of 5 x Moodle discussions
  • Essay (3,500 words) (60%)
  • Applied learning exercise (1,750 words) (30%)
  • On-campus workshop / Alternative assessment (10%)

All assessments must be passed to pass the unit.

Chief examiner(s)

Off-campus attendance requirements

Two day on-campus workshop.

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


Must be enrolled in course code M6022