This unit will foster an understanding of the history and epidemiology of mental health in Australia in order to provide a sound basis for the understanding of common mental health disorders.  Bias, stigma and prejudice around mental health disorders will be examined in conjunction with exploration of the concept of unconscious bias and implicit association and the impact these phenomena can have on both the patient and their family as well as the quality of care provided.  Students will be provided with knowledge of the underpinning pathophysiology and aetiology of common conditions required to effectively and legally assess and manage patients presenting with a mental health disorder or behavioural emergency in the prehospital setting.  Additionally, the unit will cover the pharmacotherapies and other forms of treatment and therapies associated with managing these disorders.

Unit details

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Credit points:
Unit code:


HFB2223 - Clinical Practice 4

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Articulate what is meant by the term Mental Health, including the mental health classification system and the history of mental health management;  
  2. Contextualise the mental health profile and epidemiology of the Australian population;  
  3. Analyse and assess how psychosocial, lifestyle and cultural factors influence societal perceptions and potential treatment of mental health disorders;  
  4. Articulate the aetiology, pathophysiology, therapeutic and pharmacological management of common mental health disorders; and  
  5. Argue the approach, assessment and management strategies that can be utilised by paramedics and other health professionals for various mental health conditions informed by relevant legislation, regulations and/or policies.  


The assessment tasks focus on developing basic knowledge of mental health disorders and applying these to case-based activities within a regulatory framework. The tests examine fundamental pathophysiology knowledge for paramedic application. The written assessment is a case study where students are given an opportunity to demonstrate how they would approach a patient in a given scenario. The written examination requires students to draw on knowledge developed in multiple streams of the unit to demonstrate knowledge and respond to various cases and scenarios. Exam conditions are used to ensure students develop confidence and immediacy in their application of knowledge.
Assessment type Description Grade
Test Test (30mins) 10%
Test Test (30mins) 10%
Case Study Case Study in class 40%
Presentation In class Group Presentation (20mins per group) 40%
Students are expected to attempt all pieces of assessment and must obtain a total aggregate score of 50% or greater to pass the unit.

Required reading

Mental health Care 3rd ed.
Hungerford, C., Hodgson, D., Bostwick, R., Clancy, R., Murphy, G., de Jong, G., & Ngune, I. (2018)
Wiley: Australia

RECOMMENDED TEXTS: Cameron, P., Jelinek, G., Kelly, A-M., Brown, A., Little, M. (2014) Textbook of Adult Emergency Medicine 4th ed. Elsevier, Australia

Where to next?

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following courses. Refer to the course page for information on how to apply for the course.

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