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EDMH611 Teacher and Educator Mental Health: Relationship with Community

Unit rationale, description and aim

Throughout their teaching careers, teachers and educators negotiate complex, life-long challenges. They are expected to understand duty-of-care, compassionately respond to the needs of students, and to deliver quality education whilst retaining robust mental health. This unit provides a broad, large-scale national and global frame in which teachers and educators can better understand their own lived experiences. Participants will examine how teachers’ and educators' mental health is informed by its relationship to a national and then a global perspective within a political, historical and social-cultural approach. They will critique contemporary mental health care practices and explore how practice and care needs are influenced by policy and policy intentions. The relationship between teachers’ and educators' workload, work stressors and teachers’ and educators' mental health is also explored.

The content specifies mental ill-health as a disability to highlight disability funding, laws and service provision in terms of the common good. Attention will be given to the human model of disability to specify the fragility of the human condition and a philosophy of shared responsibility and promotion of the common good.  By understanding the national context of teachers’ and educators' circumstances and work context, teachers and educators are better informed about whole-of-life services and activities to support their individual lifestyles and their social and professional networks. Teachers’ and educators' mental ill-health is both a national and global concern. Knowledge about specific teaching-related stressors and triggers and education environments can be used to navigate through and manage adverse teaching circumstances.

The aim of this unit is to inform participants of national and international issues and trends relating to mental health care, especially teachers’ and educators' mental health, to equip them with resources and strategies to strengthen their own mental health as professionals in terms of human dignity, disability and human rights issues. This holistic understanding will prepare students to undertake the challenge of analytically responding to the EDMH613 autoethnographic focus.

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 - Critically assess the relationship between mental health care and social inequalities, and the stigma surrounding teacher and educator mental ill-heath disclosure (GA2, GA3, GA4, GA6, GA7, GA8; APST 6.2, 6.3, 7.1)

LO2 - Explain the relationship between different models and approaches to mental health, and the role of collaborative, collegial social networks to strengthen individuals’ and communities’ mental health (GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA7, GA8; APST 6.2, 6.3, 7.1, 7.2, 7.4)

LO3 - Apply an understanding of current mental health models, policies and trends and from a user-led informed decision-making practice develop a whole-of-school policy and strategies to support teachers’ and educators' mental health care (GA1, GA2, GA6, GA8, GA9; APST 6.2, 6.3, 7.1, 7.2, 7.4)

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 

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


On successful completion of this unit, post-graduate students involved in the education sector should have the ability to:

6.2 - Engage in professional learning and improve practice: Participate in learning to update knowledge and practice, targeted to professional needs and school and/or system priorities.

6.3 - Engage with colleagues and improve practice: Contribute to collegial discussions and apply constructive feedback from colleagues to improve professional knowledge and practice.

7.1 - Meet professional ethics and responsibilities: Meet codes of ethics and conduct established by regulatory authorities, systems and schools.

7.2 - Support colleagues to review and interpret legislative, administrative and organizational requirements, policies and processes.

7.4 - Engage with professional teaching networks and broader communities: Participate in professional and community networks and forums to broaden knowledge and improve practice


Topics will include:

  • A national and international overview of anxiety, depression and suicidality.
  • A national and international perspective of teacher and educator stress, workload and teacher code of conduct.
  • An exploration of the most prevalent and favoured models and approaches towards mental health and mental health care in Australia
  • Media representations of teacher and educators workload and impact on morale and professionalism
  • Teacher’s and Educator's anxiety, depression and suicidality: disclosure and stigma
  • Mental Health Law, policy and discrimination
  • Historical account of European, UK and USA mental health care.
  • Mood disorders, addictions and trauma. Coping with day-to-day classroom situations
  • Mental ill-health as a disability and the Human Development model of disability
  • The efficacy of the consumer-led movement and recovery-oriented model, ethics and stigma
  • Impact of mental ill-health on individuals, families, communities, and economies 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit is designed to be offered fully online and uses an active learning approach to support participants as they explore essential discipline content. Participants are provided with choice and variety in how they learn. Participants are encouraged to contribute to asynchronous weekly discussions and engage in active learning opportunities to practice and apply their learning in situations similar to their future professions. Activities encourage participants to bring their own examples to demonstrate understanding, application and engage constructively with their peers. Participants receive regular and timely feedback on their learning, which includes information on their progress.

The delivery mode seeks to capitalise on the maturity and capability of the participants within which a community of scholars can be developed. The unit’s content and tasks provide a holistic context for participants to frame their understanding of their own, and others’ situations which will assist in identifying how individual psycho-social factors and a sense of agency contribute to positive mental health. It is structured so both content and academic skills build upon each other, to develop a competent and confident application of knowledge and skills in the assessment tasks. The unit is structured as a progressive, constructive, developmental braid that supports participants’ learning through a sequence of learning stages. In each stage, the learning and teaching support provided are different but complementary. The approach to teaching and delivery is selected and sequenced to reflect inquiry-based pedagogy.

 The online sessions will include lecture material and self-paced activities such as guided readings, annotated reflections, e-Module activities and optional peer collaborative tasks and optional tutorial group activities. To strengthen peer collaboration, some self-paced activities prompt collegial exchanges through online discussion forums, chat rooms, and webinars. In addition, learning e-modules and links to electronic readings will be provided through ACU’s Online Campus learning platform to extend participants’ reading and to enrich their online learning. Lecture material will pose critical questions for research and discussion. This is useful to build up an understanding of the links between theories and concepts so participants can explore assessment task-related activities, either independently or collegially.

 Learning and teaching strategies include reviews of designated resource material, self-paced writing activities, plus group and individual discussions. The aim is to design a reflective and reflexive unit of work whereby the participants engage academically and effectively with the material, and with each other, to allow them to consider the relevance of their mental health in relation to their teaching practice. The online delivery mode seeks to optimise digital teaching strategies and platforms to retain participant engagement. Because of the sensitive nature of the topics, the lecturer-in-charge will create weekly, regular student consultations for discussion and conversations as a duty-of-care matter.

 This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total. To achieve a Pass grade in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities, assessments and class tasks that are grassroots material for the assessment tasks offered in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks are cumulative in their requirements designed for participants to acquire specific teacher-related mental health knowledge, to view their situation within a national and global frame and to consider how the consumer-led movement can be accessed to assert change in their professional educational contexts. In addition, the unit requires participants to apply their understanding to determine how and why collegial support networks can reduce mental ill-health; and promote and protect teachers’ mental well-health. There are three assessment tasks designed as bite-size, achievable and palatable tasks to encourage teacher participants, who have time pressures to favourably consider each of the tasks. This will reassure the participants that each of the units can be successfully completed.

 In order to successfully complete this unit, participants need to complete and submit four graded assessment tasks. The first assessment task is a visual essay that requires participants to access online news media sources for contemporary articles and images that reflect the changing patterns of mental health policies, and to see how the consumer-led movement challenges psycho-pathology of mental health. This task draws on participant’s perceptions, knowledge and beliefs, providing an initial learning opportunity to embed existing learning theory knowledge about mental health as a part of the human condition and to examine stigma as well as responding to participants’ desire to know more about themselves and their colleagues’ mental health circumstances. The second task is a timeline essay requiring participants to access online news media sources for significant milestones in mental health care. Additionally, it requires use of historical and contemporary articles and images to reflect the changing patterns of mental health policies, and to see how the consumer-led movement challenges psycho-pathology of mental health. The assessment task draws on participant’s perceptions, knowledge and beliefs about the provision of mental health care from out of different times and nations. The third assessment task is both an analysis of federal and state government mental health and disability policies in terms of teaching conditions and mental health and how these can be used with the human development model of disability and the user-led approach to mental health to suggest suitable strategies for inclusion in a whole-of-school mental health policy for teachers.. It requires the participants to select and assess both scholarly literature and contemporary policies to assess which policies offer a strong, positive relationship to human dignity and the common good.

Minimum Achievement Standard

The three assessment tasks for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome. to pass this unit, participants are required to complete four assessment tasks and gain an overall Pass result, being equivalent to 50% or more.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: Visual Essay

Select 5 photos/images and in 5 accompanying annotations, critically assess and explain the most prevalent mental health issues, including stigmatisation, affecting Australia’s teachers and educators.



GA2, GA3, GA4, GA6, GA7, GA8

Assessment Task 2: Timeline Essay

Select 5 significant milestones in national and/or global mental health and in 5 accompanying annotations, identify and describe the mental health care changes from a historical, social and/or cultural perspective.


LO1, LO2

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

Assessment Task 3: Essay

Create a whole-of-school teachers’ and edcuators' mental health policy that firstly, analytically highlights the human development model of disability and the person-centred, user-led mental-health approach and secondly, that identifies and describes suitable strategies that will promote and positively influence teacher’s mental health and their teaching practice. 


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9

Representative texts and references

Anwar, A.H.M. M., Astell-Burt, T., & Feng, X. (2019) Does social capital and a healthier lifestyle increase mental health resilience to disability acquisition? Group-based discrete trajectory mixture models of pre-post longitudinal data, Social Science and Medicine, 3, 1121-1143.

Australian Government: Department of Health. (2021). What we're doing about mental health,” Mental Health and Suicide Prevention.

Australian Government: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2021). Mental Health Services in Australia. Mental Health Services.

Carter, S., & Anderson, C. (2019). Policy, Frameworks and Legislation Informing a Focus on Wellbeing. In Wellbeing in Educational Contexts. Online publication by Creative Commons.

Nakkeeran, N., & Nakkeeran, B. (2018). Disability, mental health, sexual orientation and gender identity: understanding health inequity through experience and difference,” Health Research Policy and Systems, 16 (97): 10-29

Sheykhjan, G. T M., & Rajeswari, K. (2016). Global Mental Health for Twenty First Century Education, Studies in Education, 1 (1): 76-82. 

Wei, S., Kutcher, Y. (2012). International School Mental Health: Global Approaches, Global Challenges, and Global Opportunities. Child and adolescent psychiatric clinics of North America, 21(1):11-27. 

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