About this Course
In today’s world, mental illness and distress are common and these account for a significant burden of disability within our community. At the same time, there is a growing interest in understanding and enhancing positive mental health and wellbeing; particularly from developments in the fields of positive psychology and mental health promotion. Positive Psychiatry is a new term (Jeste et al 2016) that describes a dual approach to mental health, where we build strengths, supports and healthy lifestyles as well as treating illness and distress. In this course, we will explore different aspects of good mental health as well as provide an overview of the major kinds of mental disorders, their causes, treatments and how to seek help and support. The course will feature a large number of Australian experts in psychiatry, psychology and mental health research, and we will also hear from “lived experience experts”, people who have lived with mental illness, and share their personal stories of recovery. We take an evidence-based approach to a range of strategies that anyone can use to enhance their own mental health and that of others, from exercise and relaxation techniques through to the role of love, relationships and 'good' types of work. We cover topics from creativity and yoga through to psychiatric medications and psychotherapies.

100% online course

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.

Approx. 20 hours to complete

Suggested: 5 hours/week
Comment Dots


Subtitles: English, Spanish

100% online course

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.

Approx. 20 hours to complete

Suggested: 5 hours/week
Comment Dots


Subtitles: English, Spanish

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course


3 hours to complete

Module 1 - Positive mental health and Psychiatry

Welcome to the MOOC! Get yourself acquainted. This module is about positive mental health, stress and recovery, and some of the important findings from Aristotle through to recent research on the correlates to happiness. ...
8 videos (Total 55 min), 8 readings, 2 quizzes
Video8 videos
Positive mental health and Psychiatry8m
Recovery perspective8m
Tina's Story - Part 14m
Positive Psychology8m
8 Steps to Happiness11m
Reading8 readings
How to navigate the MOOC10m
Overview of assessments and activities10m
About the Pre-course self-assessment scales10m
Module 1 Reading list10m
Essential reading - Mental Health and Wellbeing10m
Essential reading - Stress20m
Essential reading - 100 ways to support recovery10m
Essential readings - the PERMA Model10m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Pre-course knowledge test30m


6 hours to complete

Module 2 - Body and Mind

This module is about the body and mind. We will learn about the central importance of physical health and lifestyle, and how exercise can be used as an evidence-based treatment for common mental health conditions. We will cover basic relaxation and mindfulness strategies, as well as personality strengths, and how to identify your own strengths....
9 videos (Total 66 min), 9 readings, 2 quizzes
Video9 videos
BONUS: The benefits of pet ownership1m
Yoga and mental health7m
Sleeping well8m
Nutrition: Prevention7m
Personality strengths8m
A strengths approach to community mental health5m
Reading9 readings
Essential readings - Exercise10m
Recommended resource - Yoga10m
Essential readings - Sleep10m
Recommended resource - About the Insomnia Severity Index10m
Essential readings - Nutrition10m
Essential reading - Breathing and relaxation exercises10m
Recommended resources - Mindfulness10m
Recommended resources - Strengths Assessment and VIA survey of Character Strengths10m
Module 2 Reading list10m


4 hours to complete

Module 3 - Love and Work

Mental health has sometimes been described simply as the capacity to love and to work. Psychiatry still uses similar concepts today. In this module, we talk about love and work, and introduce the complementary ideas of rest and play. We hear about attachment theory, social connections and the ancient wisdom of Australian Aboriginal views on wellbeing. We discuss the importance of contributing and here you find out whether or not work is good for you....
9 videos (Total 70 min), 7 readings, 1 quiz
Video9 videos
Creative selves7m
Autonomy and connection2m
Families and carers10m
Aboriginal Australians: social and emotional wellbeing7m
Social and economic participation3m
The YES Project11m
Consumer communities7m
Work and mental health7m
Reading7 readings
Recommended resource - Attachment10m
Recommended resource - The benefits of social support10m
Recommended resource - Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing10m
Recommended resources - Consumer communities10m
Essential reading: Australian and New Zealand Consensus Statement on the Health Benefits of Work10m
Recommended resources on work and mental health10m
Module 3 Reading list10m


6 hours to complete

Module 4 - Mental Illness

In this module, we cover the major categories of mental illness: their symptoms, causes and treatments. This includes the more common conditions such as anxiety, depression and addictions, as well as less common mental illnesses such as psychosis, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. ...
10 videos (Total 93 min), 11 readings, 2 quizzes
Video10 videos
Bipolar disorder9m
BONUS: Rob's story5m
Psychosis and Schizophrenia9m
Psychiatric medications9m
Reading11 readings
Recommended resource - Mental Health First Aid10m
Recommended resources - Types of anxiety disorders10m
Essential readings - Depression10m
Essential readings - Addictions10m
Recommended resources - About the AUDIT Scale10m
Essential reading - Post-traumatic Stress Disorder10m
Essential reading - Bipolar disorder10m
Essential reading - Psychosis and schizophrenia10m
Recommended readings - ADHD and autism spectrum10m
Essential readings - Talking Therapies10m
Module 4 Reading list10m


3 hours to complete

Module 5 - Paths to Recovery

In this module, we will detail some of the many paths to recovery. From early intervention through the philosophy of personal recovery, consumer support networks, creative arts as therapy as well as spiritual and religious practices. ...
10 videos (Total 56 min), 3 readings, 2 quizzes
Video10 videos
Early intervention - Part 13m
Early intervention - Part 29m
Innovations in mental health3m
Music therapy6m
Art therapy5m
Tina's Story - Part 33m
Summary of MOOC1m
Reading3 readings
Recommended resources - Writing and problem-solving10m
Recommended resource - Music and the brain10m
Module 5 Reading list10m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Assessment 4 - Post-course knowledge test32m

Top Reviews

By HKDec 17th 2017

very interesting and rich course.. a lot of supplementary readings and materials.\n\nspecial gratitude to Dr. Sonia KUMAR for her kindness and presence to help learners!

By TMApr 27th 2018

This course is great, easy access and great information delivered in a perfect way that made it interesting to learn. Thank you so much.



Sonia Kumar

Psychiatry Course Coordinator

About The University of Sydney

The University of Sydney is one of the world’s leading comprehensive research and teaching universities, consistently ranked in the top 1 percent of universities in the world. In 2015, we were ranked 45 in the QS World University Rankings, and 100 percent of our research was rated at above, or well above, world standard in the Excellence in Research for Australia report....

Frequently Asked Questions

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