Comorbidity and Complexity

Comorbidity and Complexity

Level ~ Masters
Teaching period ~ Semester 1

Using the CanMEDS domains of Health Advocate and Scholar students will develop advanced knowledge and skills in applying the principles of recovery-oriented care when working with people with three types of comorbidities that may be associated with mental illness: substance disorders, forensic issues and intellectual disability.

A recovery-orientation presents the challenge of ensuring that its key principles are aspired to and met, even within highly restrictive environments. Students will complement a biopsychosocial understanding with consumer perspectives of experiencing ‘comorbidity’ and develop skills in health advocacy to support people with complex mental health needs. Social justice, inclusion and citizenship campaigns for the rights of people with disabilities interface with the recovery movement and students will consider these issues in relation to barriers to the application of collaborative recovery-oriented mental health care.

Learning Outcomes

  • Using clinical and ‘lived experience’ leadership to improve collaboration.
  • The role and ethics of the doctor working with people with mental illness with comorbidity in regards to medicolegal reports.
  • Effects of comorbidities upon violence risk assessment and management within recoveryoriented mental health care.
  • Management approaches in working with people with comorbidity.
  • Use of supervision and reflection upon the effects of the student’s own cultural values and stigma.
  • Pharmacology of the common drugs of abuse and dependence.
  • Epidemiology, aetiology, physical and psychological sequelae and treatment interventions for substance abuse and dependence.
  • Implications of Aboriginal people’s social and emotional wellbeing for mental health leadership and improvement.
  • Improving access to prevention, promotion and/or early intervention activities for individuals with comorbidity.

Teaching Schedule
Topic 1 Leadership in Recovery – Oriented Care
Topic 2 Improving Aboriginal Social and Emotional Wellbeing
Topic 3 Neuropharmacology and Stimulants
Topic 4 Limiting the Harm from Alcohol Abuse
Topic 5 People with Mental Illness and Drug Misuse
Topic 6 Working with People with Opiate Dependence
Topic 7 Reducing Over-The-Counter and Prescribed Medication Abuse
Topic 8 Assessing Risk and Management of Harm to Others
Topic 9 Professionalism in Forensic Related Mental Health – Assessment and Reporting
Topic 10 Understanding People with Intellectual Disability
Topic 11 Working with People with Intellectual Disability
Topic 12 Working to Improve the Mental Health of People with Mental Illness
Topic 13 Forensic Mental Health Systems and Legislation
Topic 14 Disorders and Problems More Common in Forensic Populations
Topic 15 Working with ‘Difficult People
Topic 16 Sleep Disorders – Social, Psychiatric or Medical?
Topic 17 Working with People with problems with gambling
Topic 18 Preventing Nicotine Misuse in People with Mental Illness