Mental Health Theory 1

Subject 514-848 (2008)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2008.Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.500
Level: Graduate/Postgraduate
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2008:

Semester 1, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

On campus

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 42 hours on-campus lectures and tutorials.
Total Time Commitment: Students are expected to devote approximately 6-10 hours per week his subject.
Prerequisites: n/a
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements: It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's courses. Students who feel their disability will impact on meeting this requirement are encouraged to discuss this matter with the Course Coordinator and the Disability Liaison Unit.


Natisha Sands
Subject Overview: This subject provides the opportunity for students to enhance their specialty practice by gaining beginning theoretical knowledge relating to caring for mental health consumers.

Students will learn the theoretical principles underpinning the practice of: completing a psychiatric admission assessment, conducting mental status examination, understanding the classification and diagnosis of the major mental disorders across the lifespan, and conducting a psychiatric risk assessment. Students will become familiar with immediate interventions required to establish patient safety and a therapeutic environment; ongoing monitoring requirements; the underpinning biological basis of mental health and illness; and principles behind treatment, symptom management, and recovery from mental illness.

Interventions initiated by nurses at a beginning level of specialty practice will be described in terms of the research evidence underpinning practice.

Assessment: Written assignment of 2000 words due mid semester (40%); Closed book, 3 hour written examination at the end of semester (60%)
Prescribed Texts: Elder, R., Evans, K., & Nizette, D. (2005). Psychiatric and mental health nursing. Marrackville: NSW: Elsevier.Stuart, G. & Laraia, M. (2005) Prinicples and practices of psychiatric nursing. (8th Ed.). St Louis: Mosby.
Recommended Texts:

Bloch, S., & Singh, B.S. (Eds.). (2002). Foundations of clinical psychiatry (2nd ed.). Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.

Carson, V. (2000). Mental health nursing: The nurse-patient journey (2nd ed.). Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders

Gamble, C., & Brennan, G. (2000). Working with serious mental illness: A manual for clinical practice. Edinburgh: Elsevier.

Rogers, A., & Pilgrim, D. (2006). A sociology of mental health and illness. (3rd ed.). New York:Open University Press.

Townsend, M.C. (2006). Psychiatric mental health nursing: Concepts of care in evidence-based practice. Philadelphia: Davis.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills: Students will be expected to be able to demonstrate their beginning specialty nursing practice through:
  • the ability to understand, apply and evaluate assessment data to recognise and plan a response to patients experiencing alterations to mental health and wellness;
  • the ability to understand and evaluate specialised interventions as described in the subject content to provide a foundation for understanding the delivery of care at the beginning level of specialty practice for mental health consumers;
  • the capacity to use skills in problem-solving, critical thinking, rational inquiry and self-directed learning to apply theoretical knowledge to beginning level practice for caring for mental health consumers;
  • an understanding of the changing knowledge base in the specialist area;
  • the ability to apply scientific knowledge to understand skills and techniques applicable to the specialist area.

On completion of the subject students should have developed the following generic skills of the Melbourne graduate and postgraduate coursework student:

  • a capacity to articulate their knowledge and understanding in written modes of communication;
  • a capacity to manage competing demands on time, including self-directed project work.
Links to further information:
Notes: Level: 4th year

This subject has a multi-media tutorial component delivered via the University's on-line Learning Management System (LMS). Students must have access to appropriate computer facilities and the Internet.

The minimum computer hardware and software specifications for the subject are consistent with the University's guidelines on the expected standard of computer equipment (

No special computer skills are required. Students are required to have skills consistent with the University's Statement of "Basic Expectations of Student Computer Skills" : which includes basic knowledge of computer operating systems, word-processing skills, email use, and the internet. Specifically students need to be able to write, edit and save an essay on the computer and be competent in the use of standard WWW browsers and should be able to use information searching techniques.

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