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OTHY205 Mental Health Recovery in Occupational Therapy 1

Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

Occupational therapists are essential members of recovery-oriented mental health services. Occupational therapists, with their core values and focus on meaningful occupations, are integral in supporting and fostering the recovery process of consumers living with mental health conditions. Learning in this unit will advance on OTHY205 and OTHY201, to support students to be able to act on increasing social inclusion and address complex mental health conditions and social determinants of health, mental health and wellbeing. This unit aims to support students to promote a culture and language of hope and optimism, putting consumers first and ensuring that consumer's personally defined recovery, life situation and complex health needs are incorporated into occupational therapy.

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:

L01 - Analyse the aetiology, clinical features and trajectory of mental health conditions in light of their impact on occupational performance across the lifespan; (GA: 8)

L02 - Analyse the impact on service delivery of complex clinical issues in mental health such as comorbidity and contextual and social determinants of health that can contribute to elevated risk; (GA 1, 4, 8)

L03 - Apply a strengths-based approach to plan and critically evaluate an occupational therapy intervention for individuals with lived experience of mental health issues (GA 1, 4, 8)

L04 - Demonstrate  collaborative partnership with consumers  to promote autonomy and self-determination for consumers (GA 1, 9)

Graduate attributes

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

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

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

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

Australian occupational therapy competency standards (AOTCS) 2018

Australian occupational therapy competency standards (AOTCS) 2018 developed within this unit are:

Standard/Attributes/CriteriaLearning Outcomes

Standard 1 - Professionalism 

An occupational therapist practises in an ethical, safe, lawful and accountable manner, supporting client health and wellbeing through occupation and consideration of the person and their environment. 

An occupational therapist: 

1.1. Complies with the Occupational Therapy Board of Australia’s standards, guidelines and Code of Conduct

1.2 Adheres to legislation relevant to practice

1.3 Maintains professional boundaries in all client and professional relationships

1.4 Recognises and manages conflicts of interest in all client and professional relationships

1.5 Practises in a culturally responsive and culturally safe manner, with particular respect to culturally diverse client groups

1.6 Incorporates and responds to historical, political, cultural, societal, environmental and economic factors influencing health, wellbeing and occupations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

1.7 Collaborates and consults ethically and responsibly for effective client-centred and interprofessional practice.

1.10 Practises within limits of her/his own level of competence and expertise

1.11 Maintains professional competence and adapts to change in practice contexts

1.12 Identifies and uses relevant professional and operational  support and supervision

1.15 Addresses issues of occupational justice in practice

1.17 Recognises and manages any inherent power imbalance in relationships with clients 

1, 2, 3, 4

Standard 2 - Knowledge and learning 

An occupational therapist’s knowledge, skills and behaviours in practice are informed by relevant and contemporary theory, practice knowledge and evidence, and are maintained and developed by ongoing professional development and learning. 

An occupational therapist: 

2.1 Applies current and evidence-informed knowledge of occupational therapy and other appropriate and relevant theory in practice

2.2 Applies theory and frameworks of occupation to professional practice and decision-making

2.3 Identifies and applies best available evidence in professional practice and decision-making

2.4 Understands and responds to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health philosophies, leadership, research and practices

2.6 Maintains and improves currency of knowledge, skills and new evidence for practice by adhering to the requirements for continuing professional development

2.7 Implements a specific learning and development plan when moving to a new area of practice or returning to practice

1, 2, 3, 4

Standard 3 - Occupational therapy process and practice 

An occupational therapist’s practice acknowledges the relationship between health, wellbeing and human occupation, and their practice is client-centred for individuals, groups, communities and populations. 

An occupational therapist: 

3.1 Addresses occupational performance and participation of clients, identifying the enablers and barriers to engagement

3.2 Addresses occupational performance and participation of clients, identifying the enablers and barriers to engagement

3.3 Collaborates with the client and relevant others to determine the priorities and occupational therapy goals

3.4 Develops a plan with the client and relevant others to meet identified occupational therapy goals

3.5 Selects and implements culturally responsive and safe practice strategies to suit the occupational therapy goals and environment of the client

3.6 Seeks to understand and incorporate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Peoples’ experiences of health, wellbeing and occupations encompassing cultural connections

3.7 Reflects on practice to inform and communicate professional reasoning and decision-making

3.8 Identifies and uses practice guidelines and protocols suitable to the practice setting or work environment

3.9 Implements an effective and accountable process for delegation, referral and handover

3.11 Evaluates client and service outcomes to inform future practice

3.12 Uses effective collaborative, multidisciplinary and interprofessional approaches for decision-making and planning

3.14 Contributes to quality improvement and service development

1, 2, 3, 4

Standard 4 - Communication 

Occupational therapists practise with open, responsive and appropriate communication to maximise the occupational performance and engagement of clients and relevant others. 

An occupational therapist: 

4.1 Communicates openly, respectfully and effectively 

4.5 Complies with legal and procedural requirements for the responsible and accurate documentation, sharing and storage of professional information and records of practice

4.7 Obtains informed consent for practice and information-sharing from the client or legal guardian

4.10 Seeks and responds to feedback, modifying communication and/or practice accordingly, and

4.11 Identifies and articulates the rationale for practice to clients and relevant others

3, 4


Complex mental health conditions & contextual and social determinants of health

  • Addictions and conditions of dependence
  • Eating disorders
  • Working with families and carers
  • Older adults
  • Trauma informed care
  • Education and employment
  • Forensic mental health
  • Indigenous mental health
  • Homelessness and mental health


Practice Approaches

  • Transtheoretical stages of change: Motivational interviewing
  • Formulation
  • Augmentative psychological therapies 
  • Consumer and carer-centred practice 
  • Mental health service delivery models
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Complexities of working with people with multiple co-morbid conditions

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Teaching and learning strategies for this unit will include lectures, tutorials, vignettes and self-directed learning. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to participate actively within group activities, demonstrating respect for the individual as an independent learner. This learning strategy has been chosen for this unit as it enables students to refine their skills in using existing professional knowledge and skills, identifying their own further learning needs, and efficiently undertaking new learning using self-directed means. This unit also values the ongoing involvement of consumers in the design and delivery of the mental health curriculum. This is consistent with a growing evidence base for the positive impact of consumer involvement in student learning and adheres to accreditation standards for occupational therapy courses. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks for this unit are linked in a developmental progressive sequence. Assessment 1 focuses on the acquisition of new mental health knowledge and critical thinking through completion of a literature review of evidence-based literature examining occupational therapy interventions for a singular complex mental health conditions. Assessment 2 focuses on the assimilation of evidence, from assessment 1, into a Recovery plan that involves administering and implementing evidence based assessment and intervention practices for an individual with a complex mental health condition.

Assessment 3 requires students to apply conceptual models and theories to a range of mental health conditions under examination conditions.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Written assignment –students complete a literature review examining the evidence-base for occupational therapy interventions for complex mental health conditions.


LO1, LO2,  

GA4, GA8, 

Oral Presentation - students apply the Kielhofner OT Process Model to formulate a recovery plan


LO3, LO4, 


Examination - students demonstrate their understanding and application of core learning undertaken within the unit including materials from lectures and tutorials.




Representative texts and references

Brown, C., Stoffel, V., & Munoz, J. P. (Eds.). (2011). Occupational therapy in mental health: a vision for participation Philadelphia: F.A. Davis.

Cara, E., & MacRae, A. (2005). Psychosocial occupational therapy: A clinical practice. Clifton Park, NY: Thomson Delmar Learning.

Creek, J., & Lougher, L. (Eds.). (2008). Occupational therapy and mental health (4th ed.). Philadelphia: Churchill Livingstone.

Kielhofner, G. (2008). A model of human occupation: Theory and application (4th ed). Baltimore: MD. Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.

Meadows, G., Singh, B., & Grigg, M. (2012). Mental health in Australia: Collaborative community practice (2n3rd ed.). South Melbourne, Victoria: Oxford University Press.

Sadock, B.J., & Sadock, V.A. (2007). Kaplan & Sadock’s synopsis of psychiatry: Behavioural sciences/ clinical psychiatry(10th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins.

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