Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

POPLHLTH 735 - Mental Health Development: Theory and Principles

15 Points

Semester 1


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 aims

Goals of the course

To provide an introduction to theories and principles underpinning the concept of Mental Health Development and its application in the mental health sectors of treatment, recovery and rehabilitation.


Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

• Understand and be able to discuss some of the key concepts and principles underlying a MHD approach with special focus on "treatment" and "recovery".

• Understand and be able to discuss some of the main paradigms of, and approaches to, mental health from a New Zealand and international perspective.

• See how these concepts can guide one’s own practice as a professional in the mental or social health area.

• Appreciate the role of the Treaty of Waitangi and cultural dimensions in this approach.

• Start to know how to apply the MHD approach in general terms to different treatment and recovery settings.

• Be able to 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.


Content outline

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 Recovery models

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

• Day 4 Integration of primary and secondary mental health services

Programme and course advice

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.

Learning and teaching

This one semester course consists of four one-day teaching blocks, 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.


Campus teaching dates

This course is held at Tāmaki Campus. Please see your timetable on SSO or Building 730 Reception noticeboard on the day for the room details.


Learning resources 

Students are provided access to online course pages in CANVAS which is the University’s online Learning Management System. These pages give the course outline, objectives for each session and recommended readings. All PowerPoint presentations and additional course materials are available through CANVAS.



The assessment profile for the course is based on two assignments and a final exam.

Assignment 1 (20%) (approximately 2000 words) is to have students reflect on two chosen readings, summarise main arguments to demonstrate understanding and develop opinions on arguments presented.

Assignment 2 (30%) (approximately 4000 words) is for students to choose a concept of treatment or recovery oriented mental health development issue and to critically evaluate the concept from both theoretical and service delivery perspectives.

Examination (2 hours) (50%) has two parts. Part One has short questions on mental health development; Part Two covers an in-depth discussion of given topics.

The semester one examination period is Thursday 7 June – Monday 25 June. Note that the examination timetables are not finalised and available to students until 6-8 weeks into the semester. 

Course Coordinator

Course Administrator