Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

POPLHLTH 736 - Mental Health Promotion

15 Points

Semester 2



Examines the central role that positive mental health and well-being plays in the health of populations. It focuses on understanding the determinants of mental health and the processes by which these determinants affect mental health. The theory and application of mental health promotion practice, encompassing strategies for action at the societal, community and individual level, are discussed.

Course content and aim

Goals of the course

To provide an understanding of the concept and practice of mental health promotion (MHP).

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, the student should be able to:

  • Understand the aim, theories and practice of Mental Health Promotion
  • Describe how to apply MHP principles at different levels of intervention
  • Understand the processes by which four key determinants (discrimination, violence, social inclusion, access to economic resources) affect mental health
  • Demonstrate understanding of tools and strategies that can enhance Mental Health Promotion practice.

Content outline

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

The four days cover the following topics-

  • Day 1: Overview and Theories for Mental Health Promotion
  • Day 2: Discrimination and Social Inclusion
  • Day 3: Prevention of Violence
  • Day 4: Access to economic resources

Major activities that support MHP practice, including research, creative practice, building supportive policy, and enhancing public participation will also be discussed.

For each teaching day, there is a set of required readings, which are provided. The basic format for each one day session will be an initial catch-up and business period, then input from the teacher related to the topic of the day. This will continue on an input/discussion basis for the morning.

In the second part of the session, there will be further input emphasising application, either from the teacher or from visitors. This is followed by the class breaking into small groups, and engaging in a cooperative process of exploring how to apply MHP principles to real-life situations. At the end of the day, the class comes back together for a brief reporting-in and closing.

Programme and course advice

This 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 Science programmes including the Diploma/Masters of Health Sciences as well as Public Health. It can also be taken as a one-off course by those interested in the subject under the Certificate of Proficiency programme.

The course is also optional for the BHSc Honours programme.

Learning and teaching

The course consists of four one day (9am – 4pm) block sessions spread over Semester Two. 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.

In addition, it is expected that students will do approximately 6-10 hours of course-related work each week (reading, assignments, networking, etc).

Learning resources 

The required readings for this course are provided on CANVAS, which is our online Student Learning Management system. Library and computer facilities with internet are available to students. Support in developing internet skills and library usage is included in the orientation package. The power point presentations for the lectures will be put up on CANVAS.


The assessment of this course is 60% on-course, and 40% final examination.

The on-course assessment consists of:

  • A written summary of the readings for days 2-4 (10%)
  • A literature review (maximum 3,000 words, 25%) on one aspect of MHP (e.g., understanding determinants of MH or MHP program delivery strategies). Findings of this individual project should be tailored to inform the development of the group project (see below).
  • A group report (maximum 3,000 words, 15%) on a Mental Health Promotion or research project, developed jointly by students, applying MHP principles and practice to a topic that can foster well-being. Students can design a prevention or research project, or approach the issue from a more conceptual perspective. Essays should draw on the available research and academic literature and be properly constructed and referenced.
  • An individual reflective essay based on your group work (Maximum 2000 words, 10%). The reflective essay has both a content aspect (what happened in the group) and a personal aspect. Note the necessity to keep a diary of the group process.

Note that the examination timetables are not finalised and available to students until 6-8 weeks into the semester. 

Course Coordinator

Course Administrator