Knowledge of common mental health and substance abuse disorders and of co-morbidity (including mental health and physical health) and their contribution to disease burden
Develop an understanding of an ecological approach to mental health and substance use disorders and of social factors associated with these conditions; and of health promotion programs to address these
Critique key policy debates, policies (considering their evidence base) and legislation to address mental health, alcohol and other drugs in Australia
This assessment is designed to develop your research, critical review of evidence and writing skills to support health advocacy in the domain of Public Health; The assignment will reflect on policy content relevant to the population health issue and critical analysis of evidence based research to inform your practice.
In this assignment you will select a vulnerable population group (people living with mental illness and Substance use Disorder (SUD) comorbidity, Australian Indigenous peoples, adults with depression or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder & youth (15-24), specifically on the prevalence of comorbidity or co-occurring mental health and AOD disorders or misuse as discussed in this topic.
The report will investigate social, environmental, interpersonal and economic factors which are known to influence the development of mental and co-occurring SUD and problems. The report will link to current Australian policy approaches to prevention, treatment or support for the chosen population group which address the risks or protective factors identified.
Being able to articulate complex social health issues impacting on the treatment and management of chronic disease and illness is an important part of your professional development and practice in Public Health. Critical analysis of evidence based literature develops key competencies in justifying support for vulnerable population groups in accessing quality and timely care. This skill is often required in collaborative writing projects such as grant applications, research proposals and evaluation
In this report you will investigate a vulnerable population group considered at risk of developing mental illness and AOD co-occurring conditions (as covered within this topic).
Provide evidence of the prevalence of mental illness and co-occurring substance misuse or disorder and key risk or protective factors for the chosen population group.
Identify two Social Determinants of Health which present a risk or protective factor for your population group based on critical analysis of the grey literature (health policy) and primary research. [Refer to Module 1.2 Learning Activity |Searching for grey literature].
From the key issues you have identified in the literature discuss implications for prevention, treatment or service approaches. [Refer to Module 2.2 Learning Activity [Analysing a research article].
Your assignment will follow the structure of an academic report of 2000 words (not including the final reference list) and include the following sub headings:
Title: Develop a thesis statement (Title) to define the topic your report will cover (include identified population group).
Example: Middle aged adults with co-occurring PTSD and substance use problems; Understanding the impact of stress and stigma on treatment access and outcomes.
Contents: A brief table of contents with clear and logical subheadings.
Introduction [200 words]: Provide a background to the population group; prevalence for mental health and AOD comorbidity from an International and Australian perspective; establish why the issue is an important one to address and key issues the report will cover.
Body [1600 words]: In the body of the report the following areas should be addressed (using subheadings)
Provide a brief description of the condition or disorders [include definitions; condition characteristics; aetiology]. Include the common substance of abuse and harms from abuse. This may include mental and physical health impacts or harms experienced by others [Suggested word count 300].
Drawing on The WHO Solid Facts (2003), literature provided in this topic and your own wider reading, identify two Social Determinants of Health (examples; employment, social inclusion, stigma, addiction and stress), which may impact on the incidents of co-morbidity (risks) or present protective factors for people living with mental illness and AOD co-occurring disorder. This should be discussed in relation to current health care policy approaches designed to address these determinants. Use grey literature such as government health policy publications and reports to inform this section of the report [suggested word count 500].
Summarise associations between the social determinants you have identified and, key issues linked to health care policy approaches. This may include impacts on treatment seeking behaviours, barriers or enabling factors to accessing timely treatment or support [suggested word count 300].
Present a critical analysis of (2-3) current treatment approaches (or health promotion interventions) for this population group that aim to address the issues you have identified in the previous section; limitations of the evidence and implications for future practice should be considered here [Suggested word count 500].
Conclusions and recommendations [200 words]: Provide a summary of the purpose of the report, key issues and implications for treatment or prevention or further research. References [minimum 8-10]: Please note your references should be current publications (last 5-7 years)
WHO. (2003). Social Determinants of Health; The Solid Facts. Retrieved from: http://www.euro.who.int/_data/assets/pdf_file/0005/98438/e81384.pdf
Marel, C., Mills, K. L., Kingston, R., Gournay, K., Deady, M., Kay-Lambkin, F., Baker, A., Teeson. (2016). Guidelines on the management of co-occurring alcohol and other drug and mental health conditions in alcohol and other drug treatment settings. Retrieved from Canberra: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/F669373C89CBFF50CA257FCD001658E2/$File/Comorbidity-Guidelines-2016.pdf
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