Timetable information in the Course Catalogue may be subject to change.

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
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
Not being delivered
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), 462¿91.

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), 1449¿62.

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), 158¿172.
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
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information