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COU5012 Contexts of Mental Health Counselling

Semester 1, 2019 Online
Short Description: Context Mental Hlth Counsel
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Psychology and Counselling
Student contribution band : Band 1
ASCED code : 090513 - Counselling
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: Jan Du Preez


Pre-requisite: Students must be enrolled in one of the following Programs: GCCO or GDCN or MCCO or PDEV or GCHH or GDHH or MOHH


Mental health conditions, including anxiety and depression, are predicted to be the main health issues facing Australians in coming years, according to the World Health Organisation. Understanding the context in which mental health conditions present in society, and the services established to provide treatment, are vital for mental health professionals. This is particularly relevant when professionals are required to work in multi-disciplinary teams. This course will address the professional issues involved in working with mental health clients.


This course aims to contextualise mental health practice in historical and geographic terms. It introduces students to the theories, legislation, policies and standards that underpin mental health practice in Australia. Students will also gain an understanding of the rights of mental health consumers and their carers, and how to optimise the participation of consumers in the services developed for their care and support. This course seeks to assist counselling practitioners wanting to work in the mental health sector, by developing their knowledge and understanding of the factors that govern the scope of practice of mental health professionals. They will be introduced to research in mental health, both as practitioners and for the purpose of undertaking research base courses at Master level. Students will examine their professional role within the context of transdisciplinary practice and current service delivery models and the evidence that supports such an approach.


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

  1. integrated knowledge of the historical development of concepts like mental health and illness, including Australian and global perspectives
  2. advanced understanding of the relevant theoretical, legal and ethical frameworks in which mental health practice is conducted
  3. advanced and synthesised knowledge of the rights of people with mental health issues and their carers, and ways to promote access to and participation in services provided for the care of these mental health consumers
  4. an ability to critically analyse the principles of inter-professional practice in mental health service provision, and the contribution of each professional group to effective service provision
  5. an ability to critically evaluate the mental health services available in the student’s own community
  6. an ability to critically evaluate the preventative model
  7. an advanced understanding of research in mental health, with reference also to the concept of quality.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Society, Mental Health and Illness 10.00
2. A consumer perspective to mental distress 10.00
3. The global perspective on mental health 10.00
4. Delivering mental health care 10.00
5. Mental health services in Australia 5.00
6. Mental health services in the Australian States and Territories 5.00
7. Mental disorder in Australia 10.00
8. The participants in mental health services 10.00
9. Working collaboratively 10.00
10. Research in mental disorders and mental health practice 10.00
11. Evaluation and the concept of quality in mental health care 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. (

Meadows, G., Farhall, J., Fossey, E., Grigg, M., McDermott, F., & Sing, B 2012, Mental Health in Australia: Collaborative Community Practice, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne, Vic.

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 expectations

Activity Hours
Assessments 45.00
Directed Study 40.00
Private Study 80.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
Essay 1 30 30 18 Mar 2019
Essay 2 40 40 23 Apr 2019
Essay 3 60 30 20 May 2019

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students’ 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.

  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 for that item.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  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 items for the course.

  6. Examination information:
    NO EXAM: There is no exam in this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    NO EXAM: There is no examination in this course, so 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. Students must familiarise themselves with the USQ Assessment Procedures (

  2. If electronic submission is specified for a course assessment, students will be notified of this on the Course Study Desk. The due date for an electronically submitted assessment is the date by which a student must electronically submit the assignment irrespective of holidays. 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).

  3. If hardcopy submission is specified for a course assessment, students will be notified of this on the Course Study Desk. The due date for a hardcopy assignment is the date by which a student must submit at USQ or despatch the assignment to USQ irrespective of holidays.

  4. USQ will NOT accept submission of assignments by facsimile or email unless expressly requested by the course examiner.

  5. Referencing in Assignments must comply with the American Psychological Association (APA) referencing system. The APA system should be used by students to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The American Psychological Association (APA) style to be used are defined by the USQ library’s referencing guide. These policies can be found at

  6. Reliable access to the internet is a requirement of this course as the course contains electronic assessment and submission elements. Students who knowingly do not have reliable access to the internet should actively seek alternative internet access (e.g., Internet cafes, local libraries, or work places) for assessment submission and electronic assessment attempts. All students are able to use the on-campus student computer laboratories once access has been enabled. To be granted access, external students need to contact ICT and ask to have a student account enabled so that they can work on-campus.

Evaluation and benchmarking

In meeting the University’s aims to establish quality learning and teaching for all programs, this course monitors and ensures quality assurance and improvements in at least two ways. This course:
1. conforms to the USQ Policy on Evaluation of Teaching, Courses and Programs to ensure ongoing monitoring and systematic improvement.
2. forms part of the Graduate Certificate of Counselling, the Graduate Diploma of Counselling, and the Masters of Counselling, and is benchmarked against the:
o internal USQ accreditation/reaccreditation processes which include (i) stringent standards in the independent accreditation of its academic programs, (ii) close integration between business and academic planning, and (iii) regular and rigorous review;
o professional accreditation standards of the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia Training Standards, 2014.

Other requirements

  1. Computer, e-mail and Internet access:
    Students are required to have access to a personal computer, e-mail capabilities and Internet access to UConnect. Current details of computer requirements can be found at

  2. 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 this 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 the same grades as those students who do possess them.