Course Outline

MHN704 Understanding and Preventing Suicide

Course Coordinator:Christina Driver ( School:Thompson Institute

2022Semester 2


Online You can do this course without coming onto campus.

Please go to the USC website for up to date information on the
teaching sessions and campuses where this course is usually offered.

What is this course about?


Suicidality is a significant, complex public health problem. For people aged 15-44, suicide is the leading cause of death, and its impacts on communities are far reaching. In this course, you will learn about theories of suicide, as well as the current evidence-base around its neurobiology and the innovations in assessment and suicide prevention. The emphasis in the course is on the integration of policy, person-centred practices and care, and the role of the community in suicide prevention. You will also explore approaches to preventing suicide in at-risk groups, such as First Nations People.  

How will this course be delivered?

Activity Hours Beginning Week Frequency
Online – The online activities will include a combination of videos, peer to peer collaboration, asynchronous online materials, and synchronous lecturer and peer zoom drop-ins. 3hrs Week 1 13 times

Course Topics

Block 1 – Introduction to understanding suicide and suicide prevention (including neurobiology, economics and policy).

Block 2 – Approaches to suicide prevention 

Block 3 – Integrated suicide prevention (including community based prevention, First Nations and suicide prevention acorss the lifespan). 


What level is this course?

700 Level (Specialised)

Demonstrating a specialised body of knowledge and set of skills for professional practice or further learning. Advanced application of knowledge and skills in unfamiliar contexts.

What is the unit value of this course?

12 units

How does this course contribute to my learning?

Course Learning Outcomes On successful completion of this course, you should be able to... Graduate Qualities Completing these tasks successfully will contribute to you becoming...
1 Identify and explain the evidence base supporting theoretical, neurobiological, economic and policy considerations and complexities in suicide prevention, using appropriate scholarly or professional language. Knowledgeable
2 Communicate and explain the various approaches to suicide prevention, and appraise each in the context of a relevant discipline. Engaged
3 Apply appropriate and inclusive communication skills and strategies when discussing suicidality and suicide prevention to a broad audience. Empowered
4 Review and examine the complex needs of different populations across the lifespan. Creative and critical thinker
5 Evaluate how current suicide prevention strategies address complex needs and propose appropriate future suicide prevention initiatives. Creative and critical thinker

Am I eligible to enrol in this course?

Refer to the USC Glossary of terms for definitions of “pre-requisites, co-requisites and anti-requisites”.


Must be enrolled in program AR503, AR602, SC546 or SC514


Not applicable


Not applicable

Specific assumed prior knowledge and skills (where applicable)

Not applicable

How am I going to be assessed?

Grading Scale

Standard Grading (GRD)

High Distinction (HD), Distinction (DN), Credit (CR), Pass (PS), Fail (FL).

Details of early feedback on progress

Learning activities provided in Weeks 3 & 4 will will involve deconstructing, critiquing, and discussing published Conversation articles (via Zoom drop in sessions or posting to discussion boards). You will have the opportunity to receive feedback in week 3 via a check point submission.

Assessment tasks

Delivery mode Task No. Assessment Product Individual or Group Weighting % What is the duration / length? When should I submit? Where should I submit it?
All 1 Written Piece Individual 30%
1800 words
Week 6 Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All 2 Oral and Written Piece Individual 30%
10 – 15 slides (not including reference list) 

15 minutes audio
Week 10 Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All 3 Report Individual 40%
2500 words
Exam Period Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All - Assessment Task 1:Conversation article
To demonstrate your advanced understanding of the complexities of suicide prevention by examining components considered when addressing suicide prevention in Australia. These components will include the theoretical, neurobiological, economical and policy considerations.
Product: Written Piece
1800 words: 300-word checkpoint submission at Week 3, and a separate 1500 words for the final Conversation style article submission 

Individual work 

Conversation article guidelines and examples will be included in your task folder.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Identification of key components influencing suicide prevention in Australia
Explanation of complexities of suicide prevention
Application of scholarly writing skills appropriate to article style and guidelines
1 3
All - Assessment Task 2:Oral presentation
To demonstrate your ability to comprehend and clearly communicate the various approaches to suicide prevention specific to your current or chosen profession.
Product: Oral and Written Piece
PowerPoint presentation 

10 – 15 slides (not including reference list) 

15 minutes audio duration 

Provide written script 

Individual work 

Assignment guidelines and rubric will be provided in your assessment task folder
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Explanation of the approaches to suicide prevention
Appraisal of the approaches to suicide prevention relevant to your current or chosen profession.
Application of appropriate language to communicate suicide prevention.
Application of professional communication skills
1 3
All - Assessment Task 3:'White paper report'
To demonstrate your ability to address the complexities of suicide prevention in a distinct population group in the community. You will do this by reviewing and examining the complex needs of a given population at a particular stage in their lifespan (from block 3) and propose appropriate future suicide prevention initiatives in this population. This will be presented as a government style white paper report and you will incorporate topics covered throughout the course.
Product: Report
2500 words 

‘White paper’ style report 

Individual work 

See your assessment task folder in Canvas for details and template
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Review and examination of complex needs at a particular stage in the lifespan of chosen population.
Evaluation of current suicide prevention strategies.
Proposal of appropriate suicide prevention initiatives.
Application of inclusive communication skills.
Application of appropriate professional writing style.

Directed study hours

A 12-unit course will have total of 150 learning hours which will include directed study hours (including online if required), self-directed learning and completion of assessable tasks. Directed study hours may vary by location. Student workload is calculated at 12.5 learning hours per one unit.

What resources do I need to undertake this course?

Please note: Course information, including specific information of recommended readings, learning activities, resources, weekly readings, etc. are available on the course Canvas site– Please log in as soon as possible.

Prescribed text(s) or course reader

Please note that you need to have regular access to the resource(s) listed below. Resources may be required or recommended.

Required? Author Year Title Edition Publisher
Required n/a 0 No prescribed text. Key readings will be provided each week through the library course readings n/a n/a

Specific requirements

All work submitted for assessment is to be word processed and submitted electronically. It is expected that students will have ready access to a computer with common productivity software and reliable Internet access.

How are risks managed in this course?

Health and safety risks for this course have been assessed as low. It is your responsibility to review course material, search online, discuss with lecturers and peers and understand the health and safety risks associated with your specific course of study and to familiarise yourself with the University’s general health and safety principles by reviewing the online induction training for students, and following the instructions of the University staff.

What administrative information is relevant to this course?

Assessment: Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the ethical standard of university participation.  It ensures that students graduate as a result of proving they are competent in their discipline.  This is integral in maintaining the value of academic qualifications. Each industry has expectations and standards of the skills and knowledge within that discipline and these are reflected in assessment.

Academic integrity means that you do not engage in any activity that is considered to be academic fraud; including plagiarism, collusion or outsourcing any part of any assessment item to any other person.  You are expected to be honest and ethical by completing all work yourself and indicating in your work which ideas and information were developed by you and which were taken from others. You cannot provide your assessment work to others. You are also expected to provide evidence of wide and critical reading, usually by using appropriate academic references.

In order to minimise incidents of academic fraud, this course may require that some of its assessment tasks, when submitted to Canvas, are electronically checked through Turnitin.  This software allows for text comparisons to be made between your submitted assessment item and all other work to which Turnitin has access.

Assessment: Additional Requirements

Eligibility for Supplementary Assessment

Your eligibility for supplementary assessment in a course is dependent of the following conditions applying:

The final mark is in the percentage range 47% to 49.4%
The course is graded using the Standard Grading scale
You have not failed an assessment task in the course due to academic misconduct

Assessment: Submission penalties

Late submission of assessment tasks will be penalised at the following maximum rate:

5% (of the assessment task’s identified value) per day for the first two days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task
10% (of the assessment task’s identified value) for the third day
20% (of the assessment task’s identified value) for the fourth day and subsequent days up to and including seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task
A result of zero is awarded for an assessment task submitted seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task.
Weekdays and weekends are included in the calculation of days late.

To request an extension, you must contact your Course Coordinator and supply the required documentation to negotiate an outcome.


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The SafeUSC Specialist Service is a Student Wellbeing service that provides free and confidential support to students who may have experienced or observed behaviour that could cause fear, offence or trauma. To contact the service call 07 5430 1226 or email

Study help

For help with course-specific advice, for example what information to include in your assessment, you should first contact your tutor, then your course coordinator, if needed.

If you require additional assistance, the Learning Advisers are trained professionals who are ready to help you develop a wide range of academic skills. Visit the Learning Advisers web page for more information, or contact Student Central for further assistance: +61 7 5430 2890 or

Wellbeing Services

Student Wellbeing provide free and confidential counselling on a wide range of personal, academic, social and psychological matters, to foster positive mental health and wellbeing for your academic success.

To book a confidential appointment go to Student Hub, email or call 07 5430 1226.

AccessAbility Services

Ability Advisers ensure equal access to all aspects of university life. If your studies are affected by a disability, learning disorder mental health issue, injury or illness, or you are a primary carer for someone with a disability or who is considered frail and aged, AccessAbility Services can provide access to appropriate reasonable adjustments and practical advice about the support and facilities available to you throughout the University.

To book a confidential appointment go to Student Hub, email or call 07 5430 2890.

Links to relevant University policy and procedures

For more information on Academic Learning & Teaching categories including:

  • Assessment: Courses and Coursework Programs
  • Review of Assessment and Final Grades
  • Supplementary Assessment
  • Administration of Central Examinations
  • Deferred Examinations
  • Student Academic Misconduct
  • Students with a Disability

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