Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

There is an increasing prevalence of mental health issues in society: it is crucial that Registered Nurses understand a range of frameworks and care to ensure that individuals are supported in their recovery journey. The unit will enable students to learn from individual, carer and family lived experience of mental health issues in order to provide interventions that support the individual with mental health issues they care for in future practice.

The role of the Registered Nurse will be considered across a variety of mental health settings and include considerations across the lifespan, legal and ethical issues, the impact of comorbid conditions and vulnerability for individuals who experience a mental health illness.

This aim of this unit is to support students to develop knowledge and skills in relation to evidence-based practices which enable safe and effective care for persons experiencing mental health issues.

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 - Identify international and national concepts of mental health (GA8)

LO2 - Outline biopsychosocial, spiritual and cultural factors that impact on the person’s experience of mental health issues (GA1, GA5)

LO3 - Describe the role for the mental health nurse within the multidisciplinary team in the provision of collaborative care to people experiencing mental health issues, their family and carers (GA5, GA8)    

LO4 - Demonstrate a sound knowledge of quality use of medicines, non-pharmacological therapeutic interventions and complementary therapies in the mental health context (GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8) 

LO5 - Apply the Recovery Framework and the Levett-Jones' Clinical Reasoning Cycle in planning safe, evidence-based, culturally sensitive, person-centred mental health nursing for individuals, their family and carers (GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5)       

LO6 - Apply legal and ethical principles in the planning of care for individuals experiencing mental health issues and their family and carers (GA1, GA3, GA4, GA6)

Graduate attributes

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

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

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

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


The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia’s Registered Nurse Standards for Practice developed in this unit are:

Standard/Attributes/CriteriaLearning Outcomes

Thinks critically and analyses nursing practice.

1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 1.7

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

Engages in therapeutic and professional relationships.

2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6, 2.7, 2.8

LO3, LO5, LO6

Maintains the capability for practice.

3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.7

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6

Comprehensively conducts assessments.

4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4

LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6

Develops a plan for nursing practice.

5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4

LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6

Provides safe, appropriate and responsive quality nursing practice.


LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6

Evaluates outcomes to inform nursing practice.

7.1, 7.2

LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6


 Topics will include:

  •  Global overview of mental health
  • Lived experiences across history and culture
  •  Mental health priorities in an Australian context  
  • Mental health quality and safety standards
  • Classifications of mental health disorders
  • High and low prevalence
  • Comorbidities
  • Impact of alcohol and drug use
  • Mental health legislation
  • Privacy, confidentiality and consent
  •  Populations at risk and factors shaping experience of mental health conditions
  • Vulnerable populations including
  • Indigenous populations
  • Young people
  • Economic and social factors
  • Cultural diversity and health beliefs
  • Trauma
  • Domestic violence
  • Public perceptions, including stigma
  • Understanding and exploring the lived experiences of individuals families and carers in relation to mental health :
  • Recovery principles of care
  • Trauma informed care
  • Person led principles
  • Strengths model
  • Biopsychosocial model
  • Peer support models
  • Nursing assessment & management across the lifespan and within multiple service settings
  • Identification of early behaviors indicating mental health issues
  • Mental health comprehensive assessment
  • Mental Status Examination
  • Risk - static and dynamic factors
  • Legal and ethical considerations in practice 
  • Common Therapeutic approaches:
  • Non-pharmacological
  • Pharmacological
  • Other contemporary approaches
  •  Partnerships in care
  • Individual
  • Family and carer
  • Community
  •  Role of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary teams
  • Collaborative approaches to care and other agencies assisting in care
  • Referral systems

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Modes of delivery in this unit include lectures, tutorials, online activies and self-directed study. Consistent with adult learning principles, the teaching and learning strategies used within these modes of delivery will provide students with foundational knowledge and skills relevant to professional nursing practice. These strategies will also support students in meeting the aim, learning outcomes and graduate attributes of the unit and the broader course learning outcomes. Learning and teaching strategies will reflect respect for the individual as an independent learner. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to participate actively with peers.

Students at university need to operate effectively as self-sufficient learners who drive their own learning and access the learning supports they require. To guide students in their learning, feedback is required to identify what is being done well, what requires additional work and to identify progress toward required learning outcomes. Located in the second year of the programme, this theory unit includes moderate face-to-face teaching hours and an increasing online component of learning to build life-long learning skills. Lectures are utilised to convey content and its central principles while tutorials deliver interactive and student driven learning sessions which require an increasing reliance on students to extend their community of learners and increase self-reliance. Online materials provide students with the opportunity to undertake  directed, self-motivated study and continue to transition to  independent study and life-long learning. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment items consistent with University assessment requirements and policy will be used to ensure students achieve the unit learning outcomes and attain the graduate attributes.

A summative online quiz for this unit will also be made available to students in week 4 of semester to provide feedback on their progress and guide their unit learning. The summative quiz follows the same format as the online quizzes used in first year.

In the caring for people with mental health issues, communication is critical to ensure that nurse-client interactions are non-judgmental, supportive and person- centred. This unit assessment includes a written assignment which allows students to demonstrate a full understanding of the concepts of mental health, the factors which impact on a person’s mental wellness and the role of the mental health nurse both individually and within the multidisciplinary team in caring for people with mental health issues. The oral assessment requires the students to apply frameworks to plan care for those with mental health issues which is underpinned by sound knowledge and an understanding of scope of practice and professional expectations. These assessments exist as they examine activities which are a requirement for the sound professional practice of the registered nurse when providing care to those with mental health issues.

These assessments are required to build student knowledge and skills which, by the conclusion of this programme, will enable the student to graduate as a safe and effective nurse. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Online Quiz


LO1, LO4

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8

Written Assignment

Enables students to to demonstrate understanding of concepts and patient factors in mental health.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA1, GA5, GA8

Oral Assessment

This assessment enables students to demonstrate understanding of core unit content


LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8

Representative texts and references

This reference list was finalised in 2016 for internal curriculum approval; it will be revised prior to unit delivery to ensure the most current representative text and reference list for students.

 Barker, P. (2012). Psychiatric and mental health nursing: The craft of caring (2nd ed.). United Kingdom: Taylor & Francis.

Barnes, M., & Cotterell, P. (2012). Critical perspectives on user involvement. Great Britain: Policy Press.

Goldacre, B. (2012). Bad pharma. How medicine is broken, and how we can fix it. London, United Kingdom: Fourth Estate.

Miller, W. R., & Rollnick, S. (2013). Motivational interviewing. Helping people change (3rd  ed.). New York: The Guildford Press.

Nizette, D., McAllister, M., & Marks, P. (2013). Stories in mental health. Reflection inquiry action. Chatswood, N.S.W.: Elsevier Australia.

O'Hagan, M. (2014). Madness made me: A memoir. New Zealand: Open Box.

Paris, J. (2013). The intelligent clinician's guide to DSM-5. New York: Oxford University Press.

Procter, N., Hamer, H. P., McGarry, D. E., Wilson, R. L., & Froggatt, T. (2014). Mental health: A person-centred approach. Melbourne, Vic.: Cambridge University Press.

Purdie, N., Dudgeon, P., & Walker, R. (Eds.). (2010). Working together: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and wellbeing principles and practice: Department of Health and Ageing Commonwealth of Australia.

Skinner, J. (2015). Nursing by the heart: Transformational self-care for nurses. United Kingdom: John Hunt Publishing.

Slade, M.(2009). Personal recovery and mental illness. A guide for mental health professionals. UK:Cambridge University Press.

Therapeutic Guidelines Limited. Psychotropic Expert Groups. (2013). Therapeutic guidelines: psychotropic. (Version 7). Melbourne Vic.: Therapeutic Guidelines.

The Sunny Boy.(2013). Treehouse Productions, JOTZ Productions, Screen Australia and Screen NSW. (Oct 2014 ABC Documentary 91 minutes ) 

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