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University of Melbourne

Foundations of International Psychiatry

University of Melbourne via Coursera


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What are some of the skills required when interviewing patients? What information is required when taking a patient history or completing a mental state examination? These are just some of the questions you'll seek answers to as you work through the course material. Mental health is an important public issue across the world, and the role of the psychiatrist is crucial in helping to address these. This course aims to give you a more nuanced understanding of the role of a psychiatrist, developing clinical skills and therapeutic relationships. Understanding the impact of mental illness in society and ethics in medicine are some of the key themes central to this course. This course is designed to provide essential background knowledge and practical skills that apply to any mental health clinical setting.


  • Course introduction & communication
    • Welcome to The University of Melbourne Massive Open Online Course in International Psychiatry. This course has been designed to provide essential background knowledge and practical skills for health professionals working with mentally unwell patients. In this first week of the course, you will learn about the importance of good communication skills. Working effectively and collaboratively with patients is the goal of every mental health professional. This can often be challenging for practitioners, especially when patients are very unwell or reluctant to seek help. Good communication skills are essential to engage patients and families, and to build therapeutic relationships with our clients. In this module we will look at skills and concepts that come in useful when interviewing patients.
  • Clinical skills
    • Welcome to the Clinical Skills module. The focus of this week's learning will on skills and concepts that come in useful when documenting a psychiatric patient history.
  • Mental state examination
    • The Mental State Examination (MSE) is a core skill in psychiatry, and an integral part of the patient interview. This week we will look at each component of the MSE, and how to classify, interpret, and document the patient’s presentation
  • The Biopsychosocial Model
    • Now that you are familiar with the Mental State Examination, you will be required to write and submit your second peer reviewed assignment for this course - documenting a mental state examination. Later this week, we'll take a closer look at 'the biopsychosocial model' - a framework for integrating different aspects of the patient’s life into a wholistic understanding of their mental illness. In this module, you will learn about the model, and apply it to a clinical scenario.
  • Psychiatry in Society
    • Health professionals occupy an important role in society, and there are expectations about how they conduct themselves in this role. Sufferers of mental illness can be particularly vulnerable, and it’s important that the law and professional ethics are followed to protect them. Furthermore, societal and cultural factors have a significant influence on the manifestation and management of mental illnesses. In this module we will explore these important topics.

Taught by

Greg Shields and Mahesh Jayaram


4.7 rating at Coursera based on 150 ratings

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