Course Outline

SWK785 Social Work in Health and Mental Health

Course Coordinator:Dyann Ross ( School:School of Law and Society

2022Semester 1

USC Sunshine Coast

Blended learning Most of your course is on campus but you may be able to do some components of this course online.


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?


This course requires students to conceptualise the role heath care systems play in responding to individual, workplace and community health in Australia. The course explores the social constructions of health and considers the role legislation and policy play in determining people’s health across a range of social groups and health issues. A particular focus of the course is mental illness and the nature of professional practice in public mental health services which have authority to treat people against their wishes under the Mental Health Act.

How will this course be delivered?

Activity Hours Beginning Week Frequency
Blended learning
Learning materials – online content 1hr Week 1 13 times
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – face to face tutorials 2hrs Week 2 11 times
Learning materials – online content 1hr Week 1 13 times
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – online tutorials 2hrs Week 2 11 times

Course Topics

The socio-political context of health

Theories and models of health

Current responses to health

Discrimination and privilege in mental/health

Mental health: Mapping the context

Mental health: Legislation & practice

Mental health: Consumer and carers’ lived experience

Mental health: Practice and challenges

Employment and workplace health

Citizenship & human rights: Asylum seekers

Race & mental/health

Gender, sexuality and mental/health

Rural and globalised health

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 Demonstrate an advanced understanding of the historical and philosophical foundations of the concepts and approaches to health and well being Knowledgeable
Creative and critical thinker
2 Apply sophisticated interdisciplinary knowledge, theories and skills to the study of complex health and mental health issues. Knowledgeable
Creative and critical thinker
3 Critically evaluate modernist models of health interventions in Australia and their impact on service users. Knowledgeable
Creative and critical thinker
4 Demonstrate a superior understanding of the integration of critical theory in understanding and responding to current issues in complex and uncertain context Knowledgeable
Creative and critical thinker
5 Explain and analyse at an advanced level the relationship between population groups (for example, Indigenous identity, sexuality, gender, mental health and ethnicity) and people's health outcomes Creative and critical thinker
6 Analyse and assess the relationship between individual and community values and responses to health and their implication for practice and service users Knowledgeable
Creative and critical thinker
7 Communicate effectively using a variety of media including oral and written methods. Ethical

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”.


Not applicable


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

Students can receive feedback on Canvas prior so they are clear what participation involves before end of week 4.

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 Activity Participation Individual 10%
11 tutorials
Throughout teaching period (refer to Format) In Class
All 2 Essay Individual 40%
2500 words
Week 8 Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All 3 Oral and Written Piece Individual or Group 40%
15 minutes equivalent, 2000 words maximum
Refer to Format Online Submission
All 4 Written Piece Individual 10%
500 words
Exam Period Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All - Assessment Task 1:Tutorial Attendance and Participation
AASW external accreditation requires mandatory attendance for skills based tutorials. Students must attend weekly tutorials and actively participate in all tutorial activities.
Product: Activity Participation
Tutorial attendance will be recorded to meet external AASW accreditation requirements. Student participation and engagement in tutorial activities assessed based upon attendance and participation across 11 tutorials.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Attendance and engagement in activities
1 5
All - Assessment Task 2:Essay Critical Analysis of Three Course Readings
To demonstrate accurate summarising and analysis of 3 x required course readings.
Product: Essay
Read the 3 required course readings (to be provided on Canvas) and write a 2500 word essay which:
1. Clearly summarises the key points of each reading;
2. Provides an analysis of the readings – it is not enough to describe readings; and
3. Concludes with a summary which shows the student’s developed thinking about health arising from the readings.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
An accurate and developed understanding of the main points of each of the readings.
A developed ability to explore and analyse the readings.
A developed ability to present your own synthesised and critical thinking arising from the readings.
Appropriate use of relevant references (at least 5 references including strong use of the course materials).
1 2 3 4
A well written paper (clarity of expression, correct grammar, spelling and punctuation), logically structured, coherently argued analysis, within the word count, appropriately referenced using the Harvard system of referencing.
All - Assessment Task 3:Oral and Written Piece
Groups or individuals to develop a quality PowerPoint presentation document on a selected health topic to demonstrate the socio-political and cultural aspects of the issue and to outline the implications for practice.
Product: Oral and Written Piece
Submit: Beginning of Week 15. 

In pairs or groups of no more than 3 students, you need to undertake research to explore a chosen health topic in the Australian context. Individual pieces can be negotiated. The aim is to show an ability to select relevant references (including public reports, health consumer’s perspectives and demographic information) to build a comprehensive picture of the issue. You also need to show a critical theory approach to an advanced level to: the topic/focus; how the references are interpreted, and; how the issue is understood.

You should aim to demonstrate how the health issue is:
1. Comprised of socio-political and cultural factors;
2. Influenced by privileged social groups/actors and dominant medicalised discourses; and
3. Show how these factors can in turn impact in different ways (specifically either in discriminatory or privileging ways) on different social groups/individuals.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
A developed ability to gather relevant information and perspectives from different stakeholders (i.e. dominant views and non-dominant views) related to the chosen health issue.
A developed ability to organise this into a coherent, concise, progressive and critical theory informed presentation.
A developed ability to articulate the socio-political and cultural factors involved, explaining the part played by privileged social groups/actors in maintaining dominant discourses.
3 5 6 7
A critical and empowering understanding of the implications for the most disadvantaged social groups in relation to the health issue.
At least 10 information sources to be used, 5 of which need to be academic references from the course materials, and strong use of textbook is required.
1 2 3 4
All - Assessment Task 4:Written Piece
An individual 500 word critical reflection paper focusing on identifying what has been learnt from the assessment tasks and the course.
Product: Written Piece
Submit: A brief essay format with self-reflections and academic references.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
A developed ability to critically reflect on the assessment task and to distil relevant learning from it – at least 2 references are required for this component.

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 John Germov 2019 Second Opinion 6th Oxford University Press, USA

Specific requirements


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

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 may 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 after 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 to negotiate an outcome.


USC is committed to a culture of respect and providing a safe and supportive environment for all members of our community. For immediate assistance on campus contact SafeUSC by phone: 07 5430 1168 or using the SafeZone app. For general enquires contact the SafeUSC team by phone 07 5456 3864 or email

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

Visit the USC website:

Student Charter

USC is committed to excellence in teaching, research and engagement in an environment that is inclusive, inspiring, safe and respectful. The Student Charter sets out what students can expect from the University, and what in turn is expected of students, to achieve these outcomes.

General Enquiries

  • In person:
    • USC Sunshine Coast - Student Central, Ground Floor, Building C, 90 Sippy Downs Drive, Sippy Downs
    • USC Moreton Bay - Service Centre, Ground Floor, Foundation Building, Gympie Road, Petrie
    • USC SouthBank - Student Central, Building A4 (SW1), 52 Merivale Street, South Brisbane
    • USC Gympie - Student Central, 71 Cartwright Road, Gympie
    • USC Fraser Coast - Student Central, Student Central, Building A, 161 Old Maryborough Rd, Hervey Bay
    • USC Caboolture - Student Central, Level 1 Building J, Cnr Manley and Tallon Street, Caboolture
  • Tel:+61 7 5430 2890