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IMH5003 Culturally Appropriate Intervention Strategies in Indigenous Mental Health

Semester 2, 2013 External Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Arts
School or Department : Centre for Australian Indigenous Knowledges
Version produced : 21 July 2014

Contents on this page


Examiner: Raelene Ward
Moderator: Kaye Price


Pre-requisite: IMH5001


The structure of the Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Mental Health and Well-Being is a layered approach, which encourages personal growth through the appreciation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, as well as building sophistication of clinical skills. It is the latter aspect which is addressed in this course. By the end of the course, participants should have the skills and expertise to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients in the context of culture, community and historical experience, and to devise culturally appropriate and effective interventions. The content of the course is such that participants will learn how to establish relationships with Indigenous clients, and to develop and use culturally appropriate and valid interviewing techniques, history taking and follow-up management procedures.


The course emphasises the burden of mental illness Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, with a review of typical and atypical symptoms. It goes on to examine culturally appropriate interventions in relation to major issues such as substance abuse and dependence, suicide, psychotic disorders, anxiety and depression. Thus the core of the course is a critique of culturally appropriate intervention strategies, or 'right way' approach, in alleviating the suffering of Indigenous clients. In this context, participants will be exposed to ethical and culturally sensitive strategies for establishing a relationship, the formal assessment process (in collaboration with Indigenous Mental Health or Health workers), pre-interview procedures, appropriate interviewing techniques, potential interview issues, taking client history, interview assessment, summary and follow-up management options. In keeping with the developmental theme of this program, participants will be encouraged to reflect that in no other area of medicine/health is how they work, define and manage disorders so much influenced by cultural factors, as it is in mental health.


On successful completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. define the role and perspective of non-Indigenous health practitioners in the assessment and treatment of Indigenous clients ;
  2. assess the role of Indigenous mental health workers and traditional healers in collaborative assessment and treatment of Indigenous clients;
  3. apply appropriate interview, and other, strategies in the assessment and treatment of Indigenous clients;
  4. develop a relationship with Indigenous clients, based on an understanding of the particular culture of the client;
  5. identify the most appropriate setting for individuals to be interviewed for assessment, treatment and follow-up;
  6. analyse the relevance of language in understanding the mental problems of Indigenous people;
  7. reflect on the professional and ethical aspects of cross-cultural interventions, treatment and management.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Cultural understanding; conceptions and visions of culturally appropriate practice; assessing client's orientation towards traditional and/or Westernised cultural and health perspectives 15.00
2. Indigenous Mental Health/Health workers 10.00
3. Trans-cultural psychiatry - protocols and understandings 15.00
4. Mental health interventions within the holistic view of health and well-being; the context of lifespan and life-death-life cycle(s); culturally appropriate interviewing techniques and practices: a critique; assessment tools in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health; history taking, management and follow-up 25.00
5. Promotion and prevention in Indigenous Mental Health; specific issues of Indigenous mental health: psychosis, mood disturbance, depression, anxiety; substance abuse issues and intervention strategies 25.00
6. Reflection on professional practice and continuing professional development in culturally appropriate interventions. 10.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Ranzjin, R, McConnochie, K and Nolan, W 2010, Psychology and Indigenous Australians; Foundations of Cultural competence, Palgrave McMillan, Melbourne.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Assessments 30.00
Directed Study 45.00
Private Study 90.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
REPORT 60 60 18 Oct 2013

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the studentsí responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration. Students must attend and complete the requirements of the Workplace Health and Safety training program for this course where required.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without (prior) approval of the examiner then a penalty of 5% of the total marks gained by the student for the assignment may apply for each working day late up to ten working days at which time a mark of zero may be recorded.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no examination in this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    As there are no examinations in this course, there will be no deferred or supplementary examinations

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must despatch the assignment to the USQ. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the despatch date, if requested by the Examiner.

  2. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be despatched to USQ within 24 hours if required by the Examiner.

  3. In accordance with University Policy, the Examiner may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances.

  4. If electronic submission of assessments is specified for the course, students will be notified of this in the course Introductory Book and on the USQ Study Desk. All required electronic submission must be made through the Assignment Drop Box located on the USQ Study Desk for the course, unless directed otherwise by the examiner of the course. The due date for an electronically submitted assessment is the date by which a student must electronically submit the assignment. The assignment files must be submitted by 11.55pm on the due date using USQ time (as displayed on the clock on the course home page; that is, Australian Eastern Standard Time).

  5. If the method of assessment submission is by written, typed or printed paper-based media students should (i) submit to the Faculty Office for students enrolled in the course in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail to the USQ for students enrolled in the course in the external mode. The due date for the assessment is the date by which a student must (i) submit the assessment for students enrolled in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail the assessment for students enrolled in the external mode.

  6. The Faculty will NOT normally accept submission of assessments by facsimile or email.

  7. Students who do not have regular access to postal services for the submission of paper-based assessments, or regular access to Internet services for electronic submission, or are otherwise disadvantaged by these regulations may be given special consideration. They should contact the examiner of the course to negotiate such special arrangements prior to the submission date.

  8. Students who have undertaken all of the required assessments in a course but who have failed to meet some of the specified objectives of a course within the normally prescribed time may be awarded one of the temporary grades: IM (Incomplete - Make up), IS (Incomplete - Supplementary Examination) or ISM (Incomplete -Supplementary Examination and Make up). A temporary grade will only be awarded when, in the opinion of the examiner, a student will be able to achieve the remaining objectives of the course after a period of non directed personal study.

  9. Students who, for medical, family/personal, or employment-related reasons, are unable to complete an assignment or to sit for an examination at the scheduled time may apply to defer an assessment in a course. Such a request must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. One of the following temporary grades may be awarded IDS (Incomplete - Deferred Examination; IDM (Incomplete Deferred Make-up); IDB (Incomplete - Both Deferred Examination and Deferred Make-up).

  10. Students may be assigned an "Incomplete" grade to signify that all the requirements of the course have not yet been met. Students who are graded "I" can pass the course by successfully completing such additional work as prescribed by the examiner by a given date. Students who have been awarded an IM, ISM, IDM or IDB grade must access information regarding further work to be completed, in the Student Centre of U Connect. The Grades Page in the Student Centre contains information about further work to be completed. Students who have not completed the additional work to the satisfaction of the examiner by the given date will receive the appropriate Failing grade.

Other requirements

  1. Students can expect that questions in assessment items in this course may draw upon knowledge and skills that they can reasonably be expected to have acquired before enrolling in the course. This includes knowledge contained in pre-requisite courses and appropriate communication, information literacy, analytical, critical thinking, problem solving or numeracy skills. Students who do not possess such knowledge and skills should not expect to achieve the same grades as those students who do possess them.