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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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. Analyse and assess how psychosocial, lifestyle and cultural factors influence societal perceptions and potential treatment of mental health disorders;  
  3. Contextualise the mental health profile and epidemiology of the Australian population;  
  4. Articulate the aetiology, pathophysiology, therapeutic and pharmacological management of common mental health disorders;  
  5. Argue the approach, assessment and management strategies that can be utilised by paramedics and other health professionals in various behavioural emergencies and for various mental health conditions;  
  6. Articulate, compare and contrast the application of the National and State legislation that relates to mental health as well as Ambulance service policies and regulations that apply to patients experiencing a behavioural emergency.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Assignment Written assignment (500 word equivalence) 10%
Test Multiple choice test (duration 45 minutes + 10 minutes reading time) (total equivalence 750 words) 30%
Examination Written examination (duration 2 hours + 15 minutes reading time) 60%
Students are expected to attempt all pieces of assessment and must obtain a total aggregate score of 50% or greater to pass the unit. The assignment will be submitted by week 5 of the semester in order for students to receive feedback on their performance in this assessment that can be used as a guide to support their learning through the remainder of the unit.

Required reading

Recommendation of further readings and references will be provided by the lecturer or will be detailed on the VU Collaborate site.

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

Mosby's Pocket Book of Mental Health 2nd ed.
Barkway, P., Muir-Cochrane, E., Nizette, D. (2014)
Elsevier, Australia

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