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COUN2051 Mental Health Policy and Practice

Bachelor Course Unit

Level: 200

Credit points: 6

Prerequisites: None

Unit Description

Knowledge in the area of mental health is essential to counselling practice within any modality. 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. 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 psychologically focused strategies that have been identified as effective for a range of mental health disorders. Through theoretical and practical learning students will critically evaluate national mental health policies, service delivery, prevention and early intervention programs.

Self-awareness is a key aspect of learning in the field of mental health. Stigma and discrimination have been associated with mental illness therefore students will be invited to reflect on their own attitudes and beliefs related to mental health. Students will engage with mental health services to gain insight into consumer perspectives on experiences of mental illness and on treatment options.

The emphasis of this unit is to equip students with the knowledge and skills to identify a client with a mental health problem, engage in minor assessment tasks and make appropriate referrals.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this unit students should be able to: 

  • Apply the concepts and terminology used in the mental health field appropriately;
  • Demonstrate respect for the diverse needs of people living with a mental health condition, their families and carers;
  • Describe and apply the recovery-orientated approach to working with people with a mental health condition;
  • Examine the legal and ethical considerations of mental health care within Australia;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of different mental health conditions, their symptoms and evidence-based treatment approaches;
  • Critically reflect on their own response to mental health conditions.

Unit workload

The workload for this unit is 9 hours per week.


The required text book for this unit  can be found by viewing the School of Counselling textbook list by selecting the course and trimester at the following link: 

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. Please refer to the Academic Misconduct Policy for full details.


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.