SWM5104 - Critical social work 2: Frameworks for practice in health and mental health - 2017

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

Unit guides



  • First semester 2017 (Day)
  • First semester 2017 (Off-campus)


This unit provides an ecological approach to the understanding of contemporary health and mental health concerns that impact on the individuals and families who come to the attention of social work. The subject incorporates weekly direct practice skills seminars to develop key skills for effective social work practice in the health and mental health fields. Social Work interfaces with a range of clients and practice contexts in community health and mental health, in disability, in drug and alcohol settings, in rural and regional settings.


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

  1. Identify appropriate competencies for the practice domains that intersect with mental health, including legal and statutory responsibilities.
  2. Demonstrate key communication and assessment skills necessary for effective practice with a range of clients in diverse health settings.
  3. Reflect critically on their practice- specifically the integration of theory and practice in challenging client situations.
  4. Describe specific health problems, recognise the social and psychological components, causes and consequences of ill-health, and have a critical awareness of the socio-economic dimension of health problems.
  5. Demonstrate knowledge of the practice and policy frameworks that animate health and mental health and consumer services in Australia.
  6. Articulate the factors that influence health and mental health needs of clients and propose distinct and distinctive responses to these.
  7. Assess the nature of health and mental health issues and the contributions made by the wide range of professional groups who work with individuals experiencing mental illness.
  8. Identify key issues and demonstrate skills in working effectively with clients in health and mental health settings.
  9. Structure and present a report on a substantive health issue.


  • Literature review (1,500 words) (25%)
  • Case study (1,500 words) (25%)
  • Essay (3,000 words) (50%)
  • Reflective journal (3,000 words)

Students must pass all assessment tasks to successfully complete the unit.

Workload requirements

The unit runs for 8 weeks. Students are expected to undertake 312 hours per semester study. Students are expected to use their study time to attend on-campus lectures and workshops, undertake the weekly unit tasks as set out in the Unit Outline and in the off-campus Unit Guide.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

Off-campus attendance requirements

Off-campus students are required to attend a compulsory on-campus workshop for successful completion of this unit, where social work practice skills will be taught.

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


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