Credit points


Campus offering

Find out more about study modes.

Unit offerings may be subject to minimum enrolment numbers.

Please select your preferred campus.

  • Term Mode
  • ACU Term 1Online Unscheduled
  • ACU Term 3Online Unscheduled



Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

In Australia, it is estimated that mental illness will affect at least 1 in 5 adults and 1 in 10 children in any given year. The growing number of people diagnosed with mental illness indicates a need for clinicians to utilise targeted strategies to support appropriate interventions and recovery-oriented models of care. Such models of care are integral to transforming attitudes and practice in mental health from paternalistic to socially inclusive and culturally safe practice which supports the dignity and rights of mental health consumers.

This unit examines the guiding principles of a recovery-oriented approach to mental illness and distress. A recovery-oriented approach emphasises hope for the future, whilst it values and respects the uniqueness, expertise and experience of the individual, their family / group, and their community. Principles of recovery-oriented mental health, including recognition of the uniqueness of the individual, real choices, attitudes and rights, dignity and respect, partnership and communication will be critically examined. Students will investigate and critically analyse a mental health culture in the light of social inclusion and how it fosters self-determination and resilience toward recovery.

The aim of this unit is to provide students with a sound understanding of recovery-oriented principles and to allow them to critically reflect on the way in which their learning of recovery-oriented practices has impacted on their clinical practice.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Explain the origins and principles of ‘recovery’ emanating from the mental health consumer movement internationally and nationallyGC1, GC6, GC7, GC9, GC11
LO2Describe how a person-centred approach to practice in a coordinated care model protects the individual’s rights, respects diversity, values the role of families/carers and peer support and promotes personal recoveryGC1, GC2, GC3, GC6, GC7, GC9, GC11
LO3Promote the health and well-being of individuals with mental health problems through collaborative partnerships and ethically-based care consistent with the mental, physical, spiritual, emotional and social and cultural safety of the individualGC1, GC2, GC3, GC6, GC7, GC9, GC10, GC12
LO4Reflect critically on the impact of trauma for individuals with mental distress, the impact on families and carers and the system’s ability to respond e.g. trauma assessments and trauma-informed care approachesGC1, GC2, GC3, GC6, GC7, GC9, GC10, GC12


Topics will include:

Conceptual frameworks for recovery-focused mental health care

  • The Consumer movement
  • The development of the recovery paradigm internationally and in Australia
  • The concept of recovery as experienced by the individual
  • The effect of mental illness and distress on care givers, family and significant others

Recovery principles

  • Self-determination
  • Self-management
  • Personal growth
  • Empowerment
  • Meaningful social engagement

Recovery in models of care in mental health

  • Enabling service systems that promote and facilitate recovery for the individual
  • Foundations of person-centred practice
  • Current and contemporary models of recovery including solutions/strengths and individually developed approaches to recovery
  • Alternative paradigms in mental health practice
  • Working with diversity (e.g., neurodiversity, LGBTIQ+ etc.)

Coping & Resilience

  • Individual and group therapies toward identifying coping mechanisms
  • Coping strategies
  • Frameworks for building resilience
  • Impact of trauma and trauma-informed care approaches
  • Social values and cultural safety

Legal and ethical practice in a recovery focused paradigm

  • National and international legislation that informs and protects the individual’s human rights
  • Recovery in National mental health policy and plans in Australia

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit uses an active learning approach to support students in the exploration of knowledge essential to the discipline. Students are provided with choice and variety in how they learn. Students are encouraged to contribute to asynchronous weekly discussions. Active learning opportunities provide students with opportunities to practice and apply their learning in situations similar to their future professions. Activities encourage students to bring their own examples to demonstrate understanding and application, and to engage constructively with their peers. Students receive regular and timely feedback on their learning, which includes information on their progress.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment strategy used allows for the progressive development of knowledge and skills necessary for the student to be able to demonstrate ethical and effective professional practice in the delivery of recovery-oriented models of care.

In order to effectively and safely implemented recovery-oriented frameworks of care into professional practice, the student must first demonstrate a sound understanding of the evidence underpinning recovery-oriented models of practice Students will be further supported to demonstrate their understanding of the relationship between the consumer’s lived experience and mental health practice via the online platform through regular interaction, culminating in an individual presentation. Finally, students will critically reflect on their developing understanding and integration of recovery-oriented practice. In order to facilitate this critical reflection, students are required to demonstrate evidence of collegial discussion on the concepts throughout the semester.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Assessment Task 1 - Written Assessment  

Enables students to demonstrate their understanding of key concepts related to the evidence and efficacy of recovery-oriented practice.


LO1, LO2, LO4

Assessment Task 2 - Presentation with recorded narration

Time: 30 minutes 

Enable students to demonstrate a critical understanding of the relationship between the consumer's lived experience and mental health practice.


LO3, LO4

Assessment Task 3 - Critical Reflective Essay 

Enable students to critically evaluate their developing understanding of the theories and contemporary models that support recovery-oriented practice.


LO2, LO4

Representative texts and references

Deegan, P.E. (1997) Recovery and empowerment for people with psychiatric disabilities. In U Aviram (Ed) Social Work in Mental Health Care: Trends and Issues. The Haworth Press, USA, 11-24.

Foster, K., Marks, P., O'Brien. A. & Raeburn, T. (2022). Mental health in nursing, 6th ed. Elsevier 

Hercelinskjy, G. & Alexander, L. (2022). Mental health nursing: applying theory to practice, Revised ed. Cengage: Singapore. 

Johns, C. (2022). Becoming a reflective practitioner, 6th ed. Wiley Blackwell. 

Llewellyn-Beardsley, J., Rennick-Egglestone, S., Callard, F., Crawford, P., Farkas, M., Hui, A., Manley, D. … Slade, M. (2019). Characteristics of mental health recovery narratives: Systematic review and narrative synthesis. PLoS One, 14(3): e0214678.

Procter, N., Wilson, R.L., Hamer, H.P., McGarry, D. & Loughhead, M. (2022). Mental health 3ed. A Person-centred approach. Cambridge.

State of Victoria Department of Health. (2011). Framework for recovery-oriented practice.

van Weeghel, J., van Zelst, C., Boertien, D., & Hasson-Ohayon, I. (2019). Conceptualizations, assessments, and implications of personal recovery in mental illness: A scoping review of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 42(2), 169–181.

World Health Organisation (2021). Comprehensive mental health action plan 2013-2030. Retrieved from chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/ 

Have a question?

We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

If you’ve got a question, our AskACU team has you covered. You can search FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you.

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat

Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs