Course Outline

MHN708 Lifestyle Factors and Mental Health

Course Coordinator:Christina Driver ( School:School of Health - Psychology

2024Semester 1


Online You can do this course without coming onto campus.

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

What is this course about?


Nutrition, physical activity, sleep, substance use, stress management, social networks and the environment are all lifestyle factors that shape and impact mental health and wellbeing. Lifestyle interventions are behaviours and actions that an individual can modify or change to improve their mental and brain health. In this course you will cover the emerging evidence base in lifestyle medicine and explore ways this approach can be adopted as an early intervention strategy as well as how it can supplement other therapies in the treatment of mental health disorders. 

How will this course be delivered?

Activity Hours Beginning Week Frequency
Online – The online activities will include a variety of asynchronous, interactive learning materials, and options for lecturer and peer to peer collaborations, and lecturer and peer zoom drop-ins. 3hrs Week 1 13 times

Course Topics

  • Health promoting and health comprising lifestyle factors in relation to mental health
  • The environment and mental health
  • The ‘big 5’ lifestyle factors impacting mental health, including the neuroscientific evidence
  • Lifestyle psychiatry
  • Alcohol/other drug use and mental health problems
  • Lifestyle factors and the glymphatic system


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 Select and evaluate current and emerging approaches to mental health disorders, as well as propose novel approaches, based on current practice and theory in lifestyle medicine. Creative and critical thinker
2 Argue persuasively for multidisciplinary approaches to complex mental health disorders to target a specific audience, based on neuroscientific evidence. Empowered
3 Critique multidisciplinary lifestyle medicine approaches to mental health disorders against the limitations of traditional approaches, and then address the affordances and impacts, as well as justifying the methods of approach when proposing new approaches. Sustainability-focussed
4 Apply advanced communication skills to targeted audiences using relevant presentation genres. Empowered

Am I eligible to enrol in this course?

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


Enrolled in Program AR602 or AR706.


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

You will be provided with multiple opportunities to gain early formative feedback relevant to your first assessment task by engaging with your learning materials. These include interactive self-check activities in the modules, posting responses to discussion forums and responding to your practice activities in the indicated manner. In addition, you will have the opportunity to request a Zoom consult, along with submitting an early draft of your first assessment item.

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 Case Study Individual 20%
1500 words
(750 words per case example)
Week 5 Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All 2 Oral and Written Piece Individual 30%
20 mins
Week 9 Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All 3 Written Piece Individual 50%
4000 words
Exam Period Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All - Assessment Task 1:Case studies
The goal is to evaluate current approaches to lifestyle based initiatives to improve mental health in the community, with a focus on environment-based approaches.
Product: Case Study
You will appropriately select and present two case studies of current environmental initiatives, to explain why the interventions are being implemented. Your case studies will evaluate their effectiveness based on current practice evidence, include economic considerations and suggest potential future avenues for such initiatives.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Appropriate selection of current community approaches to mental health disorders.
Evaluation of current approaches to mental health disorders based on current practice and theory in lifestyle medicine.
Proposal of novel approach to addressing a mental health disorder based on current practice and theory in lifestyle medicine.
All - Assessment Task 2:TED Talk style presentation
The goal is to argue persuasively for multidisciplinary approaches to address complex mental health disorders with a focus of highlighting the neuroscientific evidence.
Product: Oral and Written Piece
You will present a TED style talk to an audience of the general population, evaluating the emerging ‘Big 5’ approaches utilised in multidisciplinary lifestyle approaches to mental health. You will argue for their inclusion as interventions for a specific mental health disorder, using the neurobiological evidence behind each as your core message.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Argument of approach in persuasive manner.
Argument of approach based on neuroscientific evidence.
Proposal of novel approach based on current practice and theory in lifestyle medicine.
Critique of approach addressing impacts.
Application of communication skills pitching to relevant target audience.
All - Assessment Task 3:Grant funding application
The goal is to propose a multidisciplinary lifestyle medicine community intervention or research program, to address a specific mental health issue.
Product: Written Piece
You will prepare a grant funding application to propose a multidisciplinary lifestyle intervention program or research project, addressing a specific mental health issue. Using the examples provided as a guide, your application to a funding body will also include addressing limitations of past approaches, affordances and suggested methodology of your proposed approach, and a discussion of its impacts.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Critique of limitations of traditional approaches
Proposal of affordances of multidisciplinary approach
Proposal and justification of methods of approach
Address the impact of the multidisciplinary approach
Application of communication skills pitching to relevant target audience.

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. 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

There are no required/recommended resources for this course.

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. Students will be able to participate in video conferencing, and therefore it is recommended to have computer capabilities to join these sessions (e.g. webcam, microphone).

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

Additional assessment requirements
If standard graded course, add:                                                                                                                                                      

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

For more information, visit

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