Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

POPLPRAC 702 - Adult Mental Health and CBT skills for primary care

15 Points

Semester 1


A clinically focused course providing an overview of the recognition and management of adult mental health in primary care and other healthcare settings. Topics and content will enable an examination of mental illness in New Zealand including cultural approaches and epidemiology, assessment, identification, treatment and management options. Content covers high prevalence conditions (depression, anxiety) and long term conditions (bipolar disorder and schizophrenia). Topics will include recovery, resilience, CBT techniques and the effect of alcohol and drugs.

Programme and course advice

This course provides an overview of the recognition and primary care management of adult mental health across the spectrum. It is a clinically focused course for primary care practitioners, for example GP's, practice nurses, school counselors.

This course may be taken as a standalone paper or as part of a Health Science or Medical Science programme and may be taken towards the Mental Health specialisation or Palliative Care specialisation certificate in health sciences. It may be taken independently or in conjunction with POPLPRAC 754: Infant, Child and Adolescent Primary Mental Health.

Learning and teaching

This course will be presented and taught mainly online. There will be one compulsory two-day block teaching session at Tamaki Campus (CBT skills focus). The course is designed to be interactive and to enable students to build professional networks. The course will involve self-directed learning but will also provide opportunities for collaboration and application of new practical skills to use in primary care. 

Goals of the course

To provide primary care and other health care practitioners with deeper understanding of the presentation of mental health, knowledge of current best practice, and effective practical skills to enable achievement of optimum mental health for their patients.

To enable primary health care practitioners to be proactive in promoting effective co-operation with secondary mental health services. 

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course the student will be able to:

  • Assess and identify indicators of mental illness in primary care. Assess and identify indicators of mental health difficulties associated with physical illness including life-limiting illness
  • Demonstrate knowledge of treatment options for a patient/client who presents with a mental illness
  • Demonstrate an understanding and application of cultural competence across all ethnicities
  • Explain referral options and/or ability to work proactively with a multi-disciplinary team to ensure current best practice and outcome for patients/clients
  • Critically reflect on and evaluate care and treatment (includes patient/client centred communication)
  • Apply their understanding of the Cognitive Behavioural Model (5 Part model) to a patient/client in primary care 

Content outline

The content covers high prevalence disorders such as depression, anxiety, adjustment disorders, alcohol/substance abuse, together with assessment tools and treatment options. Long term conditions such as bipolar affective disorder and schizophrenia are also discussed, together with eating disorders and postpartum depression. Complimentary content such as perspectives on recovery, cultural approaches, resilience, and stigma are also included.

Developing a Context for Mental Health (Epidemiology, psychosomatic interface, recovery approach)

Maori and Pacific views of health

High Prevalence Conditions (Depression, bipolar illness, anxiety, phobias, post traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, adjustment disorders, alcohol and drugs) screening, assessment and management - both pharmacological and non-pharmacological, mental health assessment, risk assessment, preventing relapse 2

Reflection and Evaluation of Practice

Cognitive Behavioural Model (5 Part Model and use in Health Care Settings)


Campus teaching dates 

Please see your timetable on SSO or Building 730 Reception noticeboard on the day for the room details.


100% coursework:

Assignment 1: Essay 20%

Assignment 2: Case study 50%

Assignment 3: CBT assignment 20%

Participation and contribution to class activities and online discussion: 10%

Learning resources

References will be indicated in the course workbook.

Course Coordinator

Course Administrator