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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh Futures Institute : Edinburgh Futures Institute

Postgraduate Course: Mental Health in the Anthropocene (fusion on-site) (EFIE11193)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh Futures Institute CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThe Anthropocene is the term used to describe the most recent planetary era in which human activity has had significant impact on the planet's climate and ecosystems. This course will explore how these environmental changes relate to high levels of industrialisation and urbanisation, and will map their effect on human mental health.

Phenomena such as displacement and economic migration due to climate change will be investigated in the light of their impact on human mental health. The course will also consider Anthropocene consequences for physical health (e.g., increased risk of malnutrition, lower food quality, exacerbation of chronic illness symptoms and allergies) and how this may affect mental health.
Other key themes will include attitudes and approaches to treating mental health problems in communities where health resources are scarce, and effects of environmental changes are largest. Resource management decisions and urban design strategies aimed at mitigating the impact of environmental changes on mental health will be discussed in the context of relevant policies and government initiatives.
Course description The course will introduce the key concepts in changing mental health patterns in the Anthropocene such as effects of displacement and economic migration, malnutrition, lower food quality, exacerbation of chronic illness symptoms and allergies. Its primary aim is to explore the key effects of human disruptions to Earth's natural systems on human mental health and apply this knowledge to the design of original and creative responses to public health concerns in local contexts.

The student experience will progress through three phases:

1) Pre-intensive: immersion (online individual reading and discussion board)
2) Intensive: integration (two-day intensive workshop)
3) Post-intensive: reading and reflection on materials to prepare a critique of a chosen case study and assignment preparation

The course will make use of a range of digital learning environments, enabling students to build knowledge across discussion forums, livestreamed sessions and other collaborative networked spaces.

Edinburgh Futures Institute (EFI) - On-Site Fusion Course Delivery Information:

The Edinburgh Futures Institute will teach this course in a way that enables online and on-campus students to study together. This approach (our 'fusion' teaching model) offers students flexible and inclusive ways to study, and the ability to choose whether to be on-campus or online at the level of the individual course. It also opens up ways for diverse groups of students to study together regardless of geographical location. To enable this, the course will use technologies to record and live-stream student and staff participation during their teaching and learning activities.

Students should be aware that:
- Classrooms used in this course will have additional technology in place: students might not be able to sit in areas away from microphones or outside the field of view of all cameras.
- Unless the lecturer or tutor indicates otherwise you should assume the session is being recorded.

As part of your course, you will need access to a personal computing device. Unless otherwise stated activities will be web browser based and as a minimum we recommend a device with a physical keyboard and screen that can access the internet.
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 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  20
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 8, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 4, Other Study Hours 4, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 82 )
Additional Information (Learning and Teaching) Other Study: Scheduled Group-work Hours (hybrid online/on-campus) - 4
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Summative Assessment:

The course will be assessed by means of the following assessment components:

1) Individual Case Study Critique (100%)

Involving presentations of a case study critique looking at the effects of deteriorating planetary health on human mental health, and a corresponding local provision and policy context.

Students will be able to choose from a range of formats (e.g., text, video, podcast). 2,500 words max. (or 15 minutes for audio/video).
Feedback This course will be characterised by ongoing and timely feedback from staff and peers. This will include the use of online discussion spaces alongside the dialogue that takes place during the intensive 2-day workshop.

Feedback on the final assignment will also be given.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate critical awareness and extensive knowledge of key concepts and debates surrounding impacts of deteriorating planetary health on human mental health.
  2. Apply this awareness and knowledge to a critical evaluation of governmental responses to environmental impacts on human mental health in local contexts.
  3. Critically review a policy and provision response to public mental health concerns related to environmental changes or degradation in a chosen local context.
  4. Undertake critical evaluation of a wide range of practices and/or materials associated with the subject, including numerical and graphical data.
  5. Take significant responsibility for autonomous and critical investigation and interpretation of a range of resources.
Reading List
Essential Reading:

Cianconi, P., Betrò, S., & Janiri, L. (2020). The Impact of Climate Change on Mental Health: A Systematic Descriptive Review. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 11, 74-.

Hwong, A. R., Wang, M., Khan, H., Chagwedera, D. N., Grzenda, A., Doty, B., ... Compton, W. M. (2022). Climate change and mental health research methods, gaps, and priorities: a scoping review. The Lancet. Planetary Health, 6(3), e281-e291.

Munro, A., Kovats, R. S., Rubin, G. J., Waite, T. D., Bone, A., Armstrong, B., ... Oliver, I. (2017). Effect of evacuation and displacement on the association between flooding and mental health outcomes: a cross-sectional analysis of UK survey data. The Lancet. Planetary Health, 1(4), e134-e141.

Recommended Reading:

Charlson, F., Ali, S., Augustinavicius, J., Benmarhnia, T., Birch, S., Clayton, S., ... Massazza, A. (2022). Global priorities for climate change and mental health research. Environment International, 158, 106984-106984.

Moore, T. H. ., Kesten, J. ., López-López, J. ., Ijaz, S., McAleenan, A., Richards, A., ... Audrey, S. (2018). The effects of changes to the built environment on the mental health and well-being of adults: Systematic review. Health & Place, 53, 237-257.

Further Reading:

van Daalen, K. R., Kallesøe, S. S., Davey, F., Dada, S., Jung, L., Singh, L., ... Nilsson, M. (2022). Extreme events and gender-based violence: a mixed-methods systematic review. The Lancet. Planetary Health, 6(6), e504-e523.

Schwartz, R. M., Liu, B., Lieberman-Cribbin, W., & Taioli, E. (2017). Displacement and mental health after natural disasters. The Lancet. Planetary Health, 1(8), e314-e314.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Knowledge and Understanding - demonstrate and/or work with:
1) Knowledge that covers and integrates most, if not all, of the main areas of the subject/discipline/sector - including their features, boundaries, terminology and conventions.
2) A critical awareness of current issues in a subject/discipline/sector and one or more specialisms.

Practice, Applied Knowledge, Skills and Understanding - apply knowledge, skills and understanding:
1) In using a significant range of the principal professional skills, techniques, practices and/or materials associated with the subject/discipline/sector.
2) In planning and executing a significant project of research, investigation or development.

Generic Cognitive Skills - students will be able to:
1) Apply critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis to forefront issues, or issues that are informed by forefront developments in the subject/discipline/sector.
2) Critically review, consolidate and extend knowledge, skills, practices and thinking in a subject/discipline/sector.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills - use a wide range of routine skills and a range of advanced and specialised skills as appropriate to a subject/discipline/sector, for example:
1) Communicate, using appropriate methods, to a range of audiences with different levels of knowledge/expertise.
2) Communicate with peers, more senior colleagues and specialists.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with Other - students will be able to:
1) Exercise substantial autonomy and initiative in professional and equivalent activities.
2) Take significant responsibility for a range of resources.
KeywordsMental Health,Environmental and Health Studies,Environmental and Public Health,EFI,Level 11,PG
Course organiserDr Ewelina Rydzewska
Course secretaryMiss Yasmine Lewis
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