Principles Of Mental Health Nursing

Unit rationale, description and aim: There is an increasing prevalence of mental health issues in society: it is crucial that Registered Nurses understand a range of frameworks and care to ensure that individuals are supported in their recovery journey. The unit will enable students to learn from individual, carer and family lived experience of mental health issues in order to provide interventions that support the individual with mental health issues they care for in future practice. The role of the Registered Nurse will be considered across a variety of mental health settings and include considerations across the lifespan, legal and ethical issues, the impact of comorbid conditions and vulnerability for individuals who experience a mental health illness.


On successful completion of this unit, you should be able to:
1. identify international and national concepts of mental health;
2. outline biopsychosocial, spiritual and cultural factors that impact on the person’s experience of mental health issues; (GA1, 5)
3. describe the role for the mental health nurse within the multidisciplinary team in the provision of collaborative care to people experiencing mental health issues, their family and carers (GA5, GA8)
4. demonstrate a sound knowledge of quality use of medicines, non-pharmacological therapeutic interventions and complementary therapies in the mental health context;
5. apply the Recovery Framework and the Levett-Jones’ Clinical Reasoning Cycle in planning safe, evidence-based, culturally sensitive, person-centred mental health nursing for individuals, their family and carers; (GA1, 3, 5
6. apply legal and ethical principles in the planning of care for individuals experiencing mental health issues and their family and carers; (GA1, 3, 5, 6) The Bachelor of Nursing, Bachelor of Nursing/Paramedicine and Bachelor of Nursing Business Administration courses are professional programs that require development of particular attributes for accreditation purposes. These are also included in the learning outcomes.

Attributes which you should demonstrate by the time you complete your course. All Australian universities have their expected graduate attributes – ACU’s Graduate Attributes have a greater emphasis on ethical behaviour and community responsibility than those of many other universities. All of your units will enable you to develop some attributes.On successful completion of this unit, you should have developed your ability to:

GA1 demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity
GA3 apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making
GA4 think critically and reflectively
GA5 demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession
GA6 solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account
GA8 locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information

Topics will include:
• Global overview of mental health
o Lived experiences across history and culture
• Mental health priorities in an Australian context
o Mental health quality and safety standards
o Classifications of mental health disorders
§ High and low prevalence
o Comorbidities
o Impact of alcohol and drug use
o Mental health legislation
o Privacy, confidentiality and consent

• Populations at risk and factors shaping experience of mental health conditions

o Vulnerable populations including
§ Indigenous populations
§ Young people
o Economic and social factors
o Cultural diversity and health beliefs
o Trauma
o Domestic violence
o Public perceptions, including stigma

• Understanding and exploring the lived experiences of individuals families and carers in relation to mental health :

o Recovery principles of care
o Trauma informed care
o Person led principles
o Strengths model
o Biopsychosocial model
o Peer support models

• Nursing assessment & management across the lifespan and within multiple service settings

o Identification of early behaviors indicating mental health issues
o Mental health comprehensive assessment
o Mental Status Examination
o Risk – static and dynamic factors
o Legal and ethical considerations in practice

• Common Therapeutic approaches:

o Non-pharmacological
o Pharmacological
o Other contemporary approaches

• Partnerships in care

o Individual
o Family and carer
o Community

• Role of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary teams

o Collaborative approaches to care and other agencies assisting in care
o Referral systems