COUN1103 Mental Health

Bachelor Course Unit

Level: 1 st year core

Credit points: 6 (out of 144)

Prerequisites: none

Mode of Study: On Campus and Blended Delivery


The emphasis of this unit is to equip students with the knowledge and skills to support mental health consumers in their recovery journey. This unit will provide foundational skills and knowledge for mental health workers to support both consumers and carers.

Unit description

In this unit students will gain an understanding of the mental health system in Australia and the reforms that have contributed to the current mental health policy and service landscape. Through theoretical and practical learning students will critically evaluate national mental health policies, service delivery, prevention and early intervention programs.

Students will become familiar with classification systems such as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5 (DSM-5) and learn how to access information as required on particular mental health disorders. This unit will provide learning on the focused psychological strategies that have been identified as effective for a range of mental health disorders.

Learning outcomes

 On completion of this unit students should be able to:

  • apply in depth knowledge of the range and prevalence of mental health disorders to case studies
  • demonstrate knowledge and skills in evidence-based interventions for mental health conditions, including cognitive behavioural, interpersonal and relaxation therapies
  • evaluate the effectiveness of mental health practice
  • apply interventions at individual, family, and group levels which foster and enhance wellbeing
  • demonstrate self-awareness about the influence of their own values and attitudes on their practice as mental health counsellors
  • understand and critically evaluate mental health policy at state and federal levels of government, including the legal and ethical considerations of mental health care within Australia
  • apply the principles of the recovery model to practice with people living with mental illness and their carers
  • demonstrate sensitivity and understanding of cultural diversity and culturally located meanings of mental health and wellbeing

Unit content

  • Introduction to Mental Health in Australia
  • Mental Health Service Delivery
  • Understanding Mental Illness
  • Classification Systems
  • Mental Health Assessment
  • Assessment of Depressive Disorders, Anxiety and Related Disorders, and Substance Use
  • Assessment of Schizophrenia Spectrum and other Psychotic Disorders and Neurocognitive Disorders
  • Culture and Mental Health
  • Focused Psychological Strategies 1
  • Focused Psychological Strategies 2
  • Prevention and Early Interventions
  • Ethical and Legal Challenges in Mental Health Practice

Learning and teaching process

The on-campus version of this unit comprises 12 weekly three hour on-campus lectures. Studying by Blended Delivery mode involves an online study guide and readings, video recorded lectures, four one and three-quarter hour synchronous online tutorials, and a two-day on-campus workshop.

Assessment summary

Please refer to the document available here 

Recommended text

For more information regarding recommended texts for specific units, please see the Counselling Textbook List.

Unit workload

The workload for this unit is 10 hours per week.

Academic misconduct

Ethical conduct and academic integrity and honesty are fundamental to the mission of ACAP. Academic misconduct will not be tolerated by the college. This includes plagiarism of any nature. It is your responsibility to make sure that you understand what constitutes plagiarism in order to ensure that you do not engage in it. Please refer to the Academic Misconduct Policy for more information.

Enrolment Recommendation

It is the recommendation of Psychological Sciences and Counselling that students follow the recommended enrolment guide for the Bachelor of Psychological Sciences and Counselling, and complete COUN1101 Counselling Skills and Practice 1 and COUN1102 Counselling Theories and Models 2 within their first two terms of enrolment in the program. Please see our recommended sequencing of unit completion here.


Unit information may be subject to change prior to the teaching trimester commencing.  Once term has commenced please review the Unit Outline in your class space to ensure your trimester study plan is correct.