PIT5003 - Foundations of psychiatry 3 - 2019

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

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Fiona Best


Dr Fiona Best

Unit guides




Must be enrolled in M6022 Master of Psychiatry stream


This unit will cover essentials for an understanding of social psychiatry, mental health policy in Australia and global contexts, epidemiology in psychiatry, cultural needs of patients, normal and abnormal development across the lifespan and further learning in psychological and personality theories.

It is recognised by The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) as an accredited formal education course which is a core component of RANZCP accredited psychiatry training and it aligns with the RANZCP Stage 1 Trainees syllabus.

This unit is designed to underpin a trainee's progress towards becoming a specialist psychiatrist in any modality. The Foundation Units have the capacity to provide a sound academic platform for the psychiatrist trainee's clinical training. The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) mandates that its accredited trainees complete an accredited formal education course as a core component of their training (alongside their clinical training and supervision). The Foundation Units have the capacity to provide a sound academic platform for the trainee's clinical training.

By the end of this Unit in year one, trainees will have an in depth knowledge of social psychiatry and policy and its consequences for psychiatry, epidemiology in psychiatry, psychological theory and methods, normal and abnormal development across the lifespan and cultural competence.


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

  1. Integrate an understanding of Mental Health Policy within an Australian and Global context, followed by an overview of the mental health system and service reforms.
  2. Address social aspects of psychiatry including power differential and collaborative practice, as well as responses from the community in terms of stigma and attitudes and discrimination.
  3. Explore the epidemiology of mental disorders in Australia with particular reference to the high prevalence disorders and the impact of psychotic illness (Survey of High Impact Psychosis - SHIP) and the measurement of disability as well as the impact of NDIS (National Disability Insurance Service) on mental health policy and practice and its impact for patients, families and carers.
  4. Implement cultural competency, with particular reference to the mental health needs of the indigenous people, as well as minorities and persons from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
  5. Distinguish normal from abnormal development across the life span of an individual and the mental health connotations of this.
  6. Evaluate various core psychological and personality theories in detail.


  • 4 x On-line commentaries (500 words each) (30% total)
  • Applied learning exercise (2,000 words) (30%)
  • Written essay (2,000 words) (30%)
  • Presentation at Weekend Workshop (10%) (Hurdle)

Workload requirements

12 hours per week - online teacher directed (6) and self-directed (6h)

This is an online unit; with one weekend of interactive workshops on-campus per semester.

Detail: Students will be expected to log on each week to complete at least 12 hours of work consisting of online and self-directed work.

Content will include use of a workbook, discussion room exercises, set readings, case based discussions, webinars and power-point lectures with voiceover. Students will be expected to undertake additional readings and dedicate time to the assessment tasks assigned to this unit.

One weekend interactive workshop experience (students will spend 9.00-5.00 on campus as part of the weekend) to demonstrate that application of theory to practice is also expected.

See also Unit timetable information

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