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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: Critical perspectives on mental health and well-being in the Global South (PGSP11550)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis online course has two aims: to provide students with an understanding of key theoretical, conceptual and policy debates related to mental health and well-being in the 'Global South' and to examine how these debates shape public health and development interventions that address mental health and well-being. The course draws on inter-disciplinary perspectives integrating relevant knowledge from cultural psychiatry, medical anthropology, development studies, public health, and social work.
Course description Teaching will make use of case studies of innovative programmes, national and international policy reports, and ethnographic data from diverse contexts.

Sessions are divided into three blocks. The first block (sessions 1-3) will develop conceptual perspectives to help students assess the relevance, scope and importance of mental health and well-being. This will focus on a culturally contextualized exploration of key concepts including 'mental health', 'well-being' and 'mental illness', consideration of the social and cultural determinants that shape both mental health & well-being, and cross-cultural perspectives on illness experience.

The second block (sessions 4-6) will deploy these conceptual understandings to analyse and critique policy efforts to internationalize and globalize ideas about mental health, drawing on research and policy material from specific regions. These sessions will examine the relationship between 'community' and 'mental health' in national and international mental health policies, trace the emergence of the 'global mental health' movement, and consider the role of human rights and service-user/ 'survivor' movements in globalizing mental health.

The third block (sessions 7-10) will discuss ways of addressing mental health and well-being from a 'local' perspective through the use of relevant case studies from a variety of regional contexts. These sessions will develop critical perspectives on issues in humanitarian and conflict settings, the relationships between mental health, well-being and development, working with marginal and stigmatized populations, and the potential for innovation grounded in local concerns and 'community participation'.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) The course is assessed by a series of linked assessment activities throughout the semester:

- 10% for participation in online discussion forums. Marks will be based on (1) frequency and consistency of contributions; (2) quality of contributions (i.e. engagement with and reference to relevant readings, concepts, and theories; justified use of case studies and / or examples; critical assessment and analysis of key debates); and (3) commitment to fostering the on-line discussion community. Students are expected to demonstrate growth and improvement in the quality of their contributions throughout the course. Consideration will be given to students' diverse communication and learning styles, language skills, and mitigating circumstances as communicated to lecturers (competing professional responsibilities or unforeseen complications, for example).

- 20% of the course grade will be awarded for a selection of two of the online activities in the course. These could include a mini- blog, lightening presentation, mind-map, or infographic for example. This assessment activity is designed to allow students space to engage and develop ideas on a topic, including critical analysis of literature and debates, analysis of a case study or policy document, or design of a programmatic response to a global mental health challenge.

- 70% for a 3,000-word essay on a topic related to the course theme. Students will be encouraged to develop their own topic and have the option to submit an essay outline in advance to the course organiser.
Feedback The course endeavours to embed feedback as a part of wider critical discussions on course material and provide space for dialogue around feedback. There will be three points of feedback:
1) Portfolio activities: these will be submitted between weeks 2 and 9 depending on the topic chosen. Students will receive individual written feedback on each of the two activities and will have opportunity to discuss this with the course organiser.
2) Students will submit a non-assessed formative essay outline by week 5. They will have opportunity to book a brief 1-1 slot with the course organiser to receive feedback on the essay outline and discuss the topic.
3) The final assessment will be via a 3000 word essay. Written feedback will be provided.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Critically analyse the historically and culturally contextualized nature of 'mental health', 'well-being' and related concepts;
  2. Demonstrate conceptual understandings of how cultural and social factors shape mental health and well-being in the 'Global South';
  3. Critically engage with current policy and academic debates on 'local' and 'global' approaches to addressing mental health and well-being;
  4. Apply knowledge to critically analyse innovative policies and practice that address mental health and well-being in the 'Global South'.
Reading List
Indicative Readings:

Ecks, Stefan, and William S. Sax. 2005. "The Ills of Marginality: New Perspectives on Health in South Asia". Anthropology & Medicine. 12 (3): 199-210.

Inequality and Mental Health (2011). Chapter B9 In: Global health watch 3: An alternative world health report. (2011). London: Zed. Available at:

Keys, H. M., Kaiser, B. N., Kohrt, B. A., Khoury, N. M., & Brewster, A. R. T. (2012). Idioms of distress, ethnopsychology, and the clinical encounter in Haiti's central plateau. Social Science & Medicine, 75, 555-564.

Kirmayer, L. J., & Pedersen, D. (2014). Toward a new architecture for global mental health. Transcultural Psychiatry, 51, 6, 759-776.

Kohrt, B. a, & Harper, I. (2008). Navigating diagnoses: understanding mind-body relations, mental health, and stigma in Nepal. Culture, medicine and psychiatry, 32(4), 46291.

Lund, C., Stansfield, S., De Silva, M. Social Determinants of Mental health. In Patel, V., Minas, H., Cohen, A., & Prince, M. (2013). Global Mental Health: Principles and Practice. Oxford University Press, Chapter 7.

Mills C. (2016) Mental Health and the Mindset of Development. In: Grugel J., Hammett D. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of International Development. Palgrave Macmillan, London. Access at:

Patel, V. (2014). Why mental health matters to global health. Transcultural psychiatry, 51, 6, 777-789.

Plagerson, S. (2014). Integrating mental health and social development in theory and practice. Health Policy and Planning, 1.

Kienzler, H., & Pedersen, D. (2012). Strange but common bedfellows: the relationship between humanitarians and the military in developing psychosocial interventions for civilian populations affected by armed conflict. Transcultural Psychiatry,49, 3-4.

Summerfield, D. (1999). A critique of seven assumptions behind psychological trauma programmes in war-affected areas. Social science & medicine, 48(10), 144962.

Weiss M, Jadhav S, Raguram R, Vounatsou P, Littlewood R. (2001) 'Psychiatric stigma across cultures: local validation in Bangalore and London'. Anthropology & Medicine, 8, 1, 71-87.

White, S. C. (2010). Analysing wellbeing: a framework for development practice. Development in Practice, 20(2), 158172.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students will develop:

- Professional skills in critical analysis;
- Professional skills in presenting complex information in accessible ways;
- Ability to work with others to debate complex issues and prioritise approaches;
- Exercising informed independent thought and critical judgement.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Sumeet Jain
Tel: (0131 6)51 1463
Course secretaryMs Maria Brichs
Tel: (0131 6)51 3205
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