POPLHLTH 735 : Mental Health Development: Theory and Principles

Medical and Health Sciences

2023 Semester One (1233) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Mental Health Development (MHD) represents an emergent paradigm in the mental health sector, one which emphasises strengths, resilience and positive quality of life. It is applicable to all people, including those with mental illness, and to all aspects of mental health and social services. The course has a particular focus on the treatment and recovery for individuals affected by mental health problems.

Course Overview

This course provides an introduction to theories and principles underpinning the concept of Mental Health Development.  It examines universal, selected and indicated mental health prevention in addition to  treatment and recovery approaches with special consideration of the opportunities for suicide prevention.

This course will be offered in the first semester and the formal teaching will be conducted over four separate days.

The four days cover the following topics: 

• Day 1 Mental Health Development: Principles, key concepts and outcomes

• Day 2 Universal, selected and indicated approaches to mental health prevention and treatment: suicide prevention

• Day 3 Enabling environments: Anti-stigma intervention and peer support

• Day 4 System approaches to delivering mental health services

POPLHLTH 735 is a required course for the Master of Health Practice (Population Mental Health Specialisation), and an optional course in a number of Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences programmes including the Postgraduate Diploma/Masters of Health Sciences as well as Public Health.  

The course is also an optional course for the BHSc Honours programme. 

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Course Contacts

Course Director
Senior Lecturer Dr Sarah Fortune,
School of Population Health , Level 1 Building 507
Email: sarah.fortune@auckland.ac.nz

Course Administrator
Pauline Grant
School of Population Health, Level 2 Building 507
Email: pauline.grant@auckland.ac.nz

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Master of Health Sciences

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Understand and critically evaluate some of the key concepts and principles underlying a MHD approach (Capability 1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 2.2, 3.1, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 6.1 and 6.2)
  2. Understand and critically evaluate some of the main paradigms of, and approaches to, mental health from a New Zealand and international perspective.
  3. See how these concepts can guide one’s own practice as a professional in the mental or social health area.
  4. Appreciate the role of the Treaty of Waitangi and cultural dimensions in this approach.
  5. Know how to apply the MHD approach in general terms to different treatment and recovery settings.
  6. Evaluate all these matters critically, to be creative in one’s interpretation of them, and to be enthusiastic about the overall potential and applicability of the MHD approach to mental health and social wellbeing issues.


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Assignment 1 30% Individual Coursework
Assignment 2 30% Individual Coursework
Coursework - learning reflection 10% Individual Coursework
Presentation 30% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6
Assignment 1
Assignment 2
Coursework - learning reflection

Workload Expectations

This single semester course consists of four one-day teaching blocks which are compulsory, involving 24 contact hours, plus a structured reading and assignment programme requiring significant weekly work between the blocks. Overall, the course is estimated to require 10 hours a week of study time over a 12 week semester.

The general format is that each classroom session is based on a theme, for which the readings given will form the basis. It is essential that students do the readings before coming to the relevant class, to be able to contribute properly to the learning process. 

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is required at scheduled activities including tutorials to complete/receive credit for components of the course.
Other learning activities including will not be available as recordings.
The course will not include live online events. 
Attendance on campus is required for the exam.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a block delivery.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

This course receives excellent student feedback.  

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website http://disability.auckland.ac.nz

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/academic-information/exams-and-final-results/during-exams/aegrotat-and-compassionate-consideration.html.

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/forms-policies-and-guidelines/student-policies-and-guidelines/student-charter.html.


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.