Summary of learning journey

This learning journey explores the mental health and wellbeing of refugees and migrants. The diversity of multiculturalism in Australia is explored through a brief history of Australian multicultural policy. In a diverse range of short videos, migrants from a number of countries describe and discuss how they came to settle in Australia and how they maintain resilience and wellbeing. This learning journey offers the opportunity for students to reflect on their own biases in regard to culture as well as develop understandings of resilience and its relationship to mental health and wellbeing. Students will engage in learning activities to provoke critical thinking skills and to facilitate the development of culturally safe communication strategies when working with refugees and immigrants.



Learning outcomes

 Examine your own cultural identity and how this impacts on your understanding of other cultures

  • Develop understanding of resilience and its relationship to mental health and wellbeing
  • Identify the psychological, social and environmental challenges for refugees and migrants at different points in their journey
  • Describe a range of effective, appropriate and culturally safe communication strategies when working with refugees and migrants.
  • Identify a range of supports and services available to refugees and migrants in Australia



This learning journey was written by Professor Eimear Muir-Cochrane, Deb O'Kane, and Dr Christine Palmer.

Deb O’Kane has over 24 years’ experience working in mental health practice with multiple book chapters focusing on psychology and mental health. She currently works as a lecturer at Flinders University where for the last 8 years has developed, coordinated and taught on various undergraduate and post graduate mental health topics as well as fostering educational collaborations and developments in the field of mental health practice. Deb’s professional accomplishments include establishing clear links and local service collaborations on projects to support quality learning, teaching and assessment practice in mental health. Her work has lead to a number of publications in peer reviewed journals.

Dr Christine Palmer is a credentialed mental health nurse and Lecturer at Flinders University. Christine has extensive experience as a mental health nurse clinician and educator and has research experience in both quantitative and qualitative design. Current research activity involves investigation of the importance of Emotional Intelligence to both the practice and the selection and education of mental health nurses.

Christine has returned to academic work after a ten year period in private practice involving primary mental health care, consultancy and project work, and research. She has two book chapters published with one in its fourth edition and has another three book chapters in process. She has made many national and international conference presentations including two keynotes.

 Professor Eimear Muir Cochane has authored mental health texts, monographs and multiple book chapters. Eimear is lead author on an ‘app’ for mental health assessment with Elsevier publishers, due for publication in 2014. Her text ‘Mosby’s Pocket Book of Mental Health’ will be published as a second edition in 2014 and has been adopted at 20 universities teaching undergraduate health degrees. Eimear also has considerable expertise in the use of simulation (virtual reality via Second Life) in teaching mental health, supported by DOHA funding and is an OLT assessor. In 2007, Eimear was awarded a Carrick Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning and has received five University teaching and learning awards. In 2010-2012, Eimear was Acting Chair of the Mental Health Nurse Education Taskforce Implementation Group: a subcommittee of the Mental Health Workforce Advisory Committee. Eimear is also the sole mental health nurse expert on the Mental Health Professional Online Development Project for the Australian Mental Health Workforce 2008-2013.




Hint: click on the image to navigate to a section.




1. Introduction


2. Self awareness


3. Challenges



4. Resilience

5. Communication


6. Supports




This project is a collaboration between the following project partners.