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In this unit students will explore the developmental underpinnings of mental health. As health advocates, students will develop an understanding of how normal development, the interaction of environmental and biological factors, shapes mental and physical health for people across the lifespan. Knowledge and skills will be developed in working within a multidisciplinary team and across the community, including schools, children’s protection services and juvenile justice. This will include the assessment and management of children, youth and their families, in their specific social, cultural and spiritual context, across a broad range of ages, communities and disorders.
Topics to be addressed include normal development, the neurodevelopmental effects of early trauma and its impact on the individual’s developmental trajectory and what contributes to resilience. The neurodevelopmental disorders including autism spectrum disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; the principles or early intervention and youth-specific approaches; eating disorders, early psychoses and the more common disorders of childhood such as separation anxiety are also explored. The unit will challenge students to think critically about engaging with the recovery paradigm and its applicability in understanding and working with young people.