Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

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Unit Overview


Social Work and Mental Health Practice has been developed to comply with the Australian Association of Social Workers Mental Health Competencies (2014) and the National Practice Standards for the Mental Health Workforce (2013). The Australian Association of Social Workers Mental Health Competencies (2014) and National Practice Standards for the Mental Health Workforce (2013) documents provides the broad framework for this series of lecture/seminars. The purpose of social work practice in mental health is to assist to restore individual, family, and community well-being, and to promote principles of social justice. Social works clinical practice occurs at the interface between the individual and the environment; social work activity begins with the individual, and extends to the contexts of family, social networks, community, and the broader society.

This unit will examine the two important aspects governing clinical practice in a mental health context. This will include theoretical modalities (knowledge, models of understanding), and clinical intervention strategies (techniques, therapeutic modalities). All the theoretical models examined, where possible, will be evidenced based practice models (EBPs).

The philosophical framework governing this unit from the mental health perspective is the biopsychosocial model, which consciously attempts to incorporate all of the significant dimensions in human existence in order to optimally conceptualise our understanding of the human condition in general and mental health issues specifically.

6 points
Not available in 2024OnlineOnline timetabled
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 core unit in the Social Work major sequence

Students are able to (1) evaluate the place of lived experience in clinical mental health settings; (2) critically analyse the Aboriginal concepts of mental health including social and emotional well-being; (3) critique the ‘standard narratives' that surround mental health systems, language, interventions and assumptions using an evidence-based, recovery oriented, trauma-informed framework; (4) examine the application of the biopsychosocial model of mental health to include the development a cohesive social work approach; (5) conceptualise and work from within mental health settings from a family, relational systems perspective; (6) develop and demonstrate specific skills when working with people expressing suicidal ideation /intent and also with people who are hearing voices; and (7) examine professional practice principles as they apply to workplace and university professional behaviour.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) essay; (2) quizzes; (3) case study; and (4) professional behaviour assessment. Further information is available in the unit outline.

To pass this unit, a student must: (a) achieve an overall mark of 50 per cent or higher for the unit; and (b) achieve the requisite requirements(s) or a mark of 50 per cent or greater, whichever is higher and specified in the unit outline, for the professional behaviour assessment component.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit rules
Enrolment in
BH017 Bachelor of Social Work (Honours)
and Successful completion of
96 points
and SWSP3001 Field Education 1: First Placement
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.