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 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.
Yes. Students who successfully complete the class will receive a certificate
signed by the instructor.
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 mentally healthy.