MHP209 Mental Health, Law and Ethics (8)

This subject will address legal and ethical issues pertaining to the intervention and management of people who have a mental illness or a mental health disorder. Mental health professionals are accountable for their day to day work, to the consumer and to the community. There is an expectation to practice within a standard of care framework when practicing as a mental health professional. This paradigm, along with the other components of negligence will be explored alongside the Civil Liability Act. Other legal issues such as managing information and the Privacy Act, the Crimes Act, the Inebriates Act, the Guardianship Act, the Public Health Act, Occupational Health and Safety legislation, the NT National Emergency Response Act and mandatory reporting will be explored. Most importantly, the Mental Health Act will be included and examined as to how it governs daily practice. Ethical issues surrounding mental health care and treatment will also be examined including the principles of autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence and justice. This subject has a residential school.

Subject Outlines
Current CSU students can view Subject Outlines for recent sessions. Please note that Subject Outlines and assessment tasks are updated each session.


* Offering has a residential school. Please view following information for further details.

Session 2 (60)
Online *
Wagga Wagga Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: MHP209. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Nursing, Midwifery and Indigenous Health

Enrolment Restrictions

Restricted to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to engage in research to analyse the way in which thelegal system was established, its functions and its relationship with mental health workers;
  • be able to discuss the legal, ethical and potential cultural issues that may arise in mental health practice;
  • be able to identify the laws, policies and guidelines that influence the practice of mental health professionals and the impact on clients;
  • be able to describe and discuss the term Code of Practice;
  • be able to discuss and apply the relationship between legal and professional responsibility;
  • be able to discuss and describe duty of care and standard of care alongside negligence and legal liability;
  • be able to discuss the importance of managing information and confidentiality in print and digital forms;
  • be able to describe informed consent, mandatory reporting, and freedom of information;
  • be able to identify steps in ethical decision-making.


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • The Australian legal system and sources of law.
  • Ethical theory and applied principles (including an examination of autonomy and paternalism in mental health care).
  • Introduction to relevant legislation including the Mental Health Act, Child Welfare Act, Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act, Occupational Health and Safety Act, Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act , Coroner's Act, Inebriates Act, Crimes Act, NT National Emergency Response Act, Guardianship Act, Health Care Complaints Act, Human Tissue Act , Anti-Discrimination Act, Public Health Act, Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act, Aged Care Act.
  • An examination of tort law (negligence, vicarious liability, assault, informed consent, false imprisonment) including the Civil Liability Act.
  • Professional role and responsibilities relating to patient?s rights, health care worker rights, privacy, confidentiality, withdrawal of treatment and advance care directives.
  • Professional Code of Ethics and Conduct.
  • Ethical issues related to assault and abuse, forensic and involuntary detention.
  • Documentation.

Residential School

This subject contains a 2.66 day Compulsory Residential School.

The students undertaking subjects within the Bachelor of Health Science (Mental Health)  Djirruwang Program are supported in their study endeavours through DEEWR funding under Away from Base to attend the compulsory residential schools. This funding is set at 20 days across two academic sessions (30 and 60). The following breakdown covers the number of days per subject per session/year to ensure that students are able to continue to be supported in their academic pursuits under the current funding agreement with the Indigenous Student Services (Ngungilanna).

Second Year
Session One                      Session Two
MHP211  2 days               MHP211  2 days
MHP214  2.66 days          MHP209  2.66 days
MHP212 - 2.66 days           MHP216  2.66 days
MHP213  2.66 days          MHP213  2.66 days
Total 10 days                     Total 10 days

Across session 30 and 60 a total of 20 days, this meets the requirements for student support to attend residential schools from ISS.

Special Resources

This subject has a residential school.


Current Students

For any enquiries about subject selection or course structure please contact Student Central or or phone on 1800 275 278.

Prospective Students

For further information about Charles Sturt University, or this course offering, please contact info.csu on 1800 275 278 (free call within Australia) or enquire online.

The information contained in the 2018 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: August 2018. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.