Learn how social factors promote mental health, influence the onset and course of mental illness, and affect how mental illnesses are diagnosed and treated.
Mental health and mental illness used to be something that people didn’t
talk about, but now it seems every time we open a newspaper we are hearing
about the importance of mental health, or the consequences of mental illness.
At this point in our history we understand mental illness and mental health
to be largely influenced by biological factors, specifically, workings
of the brain. At the same time, we have always known that social factors
play a very strong role in promoting mental health and can make big differences
in who gets mentally ill, who gets treated for mental illness, and how
people can achieve good quality of life after a mental health diagnosis.
This course is an opportunity to explore how social practices and ideas
contribute to the ways in which society, families and individuals are affected
by mental health and mental illness. We will look at issues like why some
people think mental illness is a myth, how people think about mental health
and illness in different cultures, who gets mentally ill and why, how families
are affected by mental illness and what interventions are available to
treat mental illness and promote mental health.
A brief history of madness
What is mental health and what causes mental
The social context of diagnosis and treatment
of mental illnesses
Culture, mental health and mental illness
Families, caregiving and mental illness
Society, communities and mental health
A basic background in introductory psychology is recommended.
Although the class is designed to be self-contained, students wanting
to expand their knowledge beyond what we can cover in six weeks can find
a much more extensive coverage of this topic in the books listed below. Please note: These books are not required for completion of the course.
The class will consist of lecture videos, which are between 8 and 12 minutes
in length. These contain 1-2 integrated quiz questions per video. There
will also be standalone homework assignments that are not part of video
lectures, and a final exam.
- Will I get a certificate after completing this class?
Yes. Students who successfully complete the class will receive a certificate
signed by the instructor.
- What is the coolest thing I'll learn if I take this class?
Mental health plays a role in every facet of life and if you know more
about it, you can do more to keep yourself and the people you care about