Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

Individuals experiencing mental illness are reported to experience a significantly increased prevalence of physical health inequalities. Mental health practitioners must therefore be able to recognise and respond to these needs through the provision of holistic person-centred recovery-oriented interventions.

Within a cultural perspective the physical health of individuals with an underlying mental health condition, who experience the phenomenon of diagnostic overshadowing, will be explored. Challenges associated with coexisting health conditions, including alcohol and other drug use, psychopharmacological agents and the impact on the individual will be examined. Students will identify strategies and policies for health promotion, prevention and early intervention. Within a multidisciplinary team approach students will explore issues related to access and utilisation of health resources for recovery. This unit will broaden and enhance students' knowledge and skills in applying effective health promotion strategies for individuals with a mental health condition.

The aim of this unit is to provide students with the opportunity to critically evaluate the relationship between mental health and physical health, and the social inequalities of health experienced by individuals experiencing mental illness.

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.

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

LO1 - explain the determinants of health and the physiological, personal, cultural and social factors that contribute to health and well-being (GA1, GA2);

LO2 - utilising a multidisciplinary approach, critically examine the physical health inequalities, access and equity issues and coexisting needs of individuals with mental illness (GA2, GA4, G6, GA8);

LO3 - evaluate strategies that will support individual recovery through sensitive, effective and evidence-based mental health care for people from diverse backgrounds, cultures, communities, language groups, gender and sexual identities (GA3, GA6, GA10).

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8  - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively


Topics will include:

Determinants of health

  • Genetic
  • Social
  • Environmental
  • Cultural perspectives

Coexisting conditions

  • Prevalence of coexisting conditions
  • Physical health needs of individuals with mental illness
  • Implications of coexisting needs on health care management
  • The role and impact of psychopharmacology
  • Alcohol and other drug use


Health promotion policy & plans

  • State policies & plans
  • National policies & plans


Health promotion

  • Goals of health promotion
  • Models of health promotion
  • Psychoeducation
  • Evidence based psycho-social interventions that assist in health promotion


Health maintenance and prevention

  • Health lifestyle and health maintenance
  • Self-efficacy and self-management in health
  • Assessment and screening tools


Health resources

  • Accessing services that support people who experience coexisting physical and mental conditions
  • Access and equity issues in health care
  • multidisciplinary team approach

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit utilises an active learning process offered in online mode delivery through the learning environment online (LEO) via eLearning link. This approach to learning is flexible and inclusive, enabling students to access a range of learning opportunities form a variety of geographical locations.

Students will be provided with opportunities for independent and collaborative learning in order to actively explore and critically appraise health promotion, cultural perspectives and social inclusion in mental health. This online platform provides students with access to web-based learning in the form of online learning modules, webinars, discussion forums, guided readings with links to electronic readings and other self-directed learning activities. The online mode for this unit provides flexibility with structured learning opportunities, open access to peer collaboration, discussion and reflection, to ensure a quality learning experience for the student.  

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 to people experiencing physical health issues.

The assessments tasks are designed to align with the learning outcomes and content to ensure that students demonstrate an understanding of health promotion issues and social inclusion for the person with mental illness. Assessment 1, 2 and 3 are scaffolded to provide students with opportunity to first demonstrate their understanding of health promotion in mental health care through collaborative dialogue with peers and lecturers. The second assessment task requires students to demonstrate their understanding of social determinants that impact on the physical and mental health of a vulnerable population. The final assessment task is a capstone activity which requires students to draw on their learning from this unit in the application of health promotion and social inclusions strategies to clinical practice.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: Online Discussion Contribution 


Enables students to demonstrate development of thinking and understanding of unit content through collaborative dialogue. This approach will provide students with the opportunity to discuss health promotion in mental health care.


LO1, LO2 

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA7, GA10

Assessment Task 2: Written Assessment


Enables students to critically examine the social determinants that impact on the physical and mental health of a vulnerable population. 


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA10

Assessment Task 3: Integrative Written Assessment


This task provides an opportunity for students to apply health promotion and social inclusion strategies drawing on all content from the topics in the unit.


LO2, LO3

GA3, GA4, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA10

Representative texts and references

Australian Government, Department of Health. (2016). National mental health strategy. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved from

Durey, A., & Thompson., Sandra C. (2012). Reducing the health disparities of Indigenous Australians: time to change focus, BMC Health Care Research, 12:151.

Fieldhouse, J., & Onyett, S. (2012). Community mental health and social exclusion: Working appreciatively towards inclusion. Action Research, 10(4), 356-372.

Hungerford, C., Hodgson, D., Bostwick, R., Clancy, R., Murphy, G., de Jong, G., & Ngune, I. (2018). Mental Health Care. (3rd ed). John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd.

Richard, L., Gauvin, L., & Raine, K. (2011). Ecological Models Revisited: Their Uses and Evolution in Health Promotion Over Two Decades. (2011). Annual Review Public Health, 32: 307-26 doi: 10.1146/annurev-publhealth-031210-101141

Verhaeghe, N., De Maeseneer, J., Maes, L., Van Heeringen, C., & Annemans, L. (2013). Health promotion in mental health care: from patients and mental health nurses. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 22, 1569-1578, doi: 10.1111/jocn.12076

Wright, N., Stickley, T. (2013). Concepts of social inclusion, exclusion and mental health: a review of the international literature. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 20(1), 71-81.

World Health Organization and Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. (2014). Social determinants of mental health. Geneva, World Health Organization.

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