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

Postgraduate Course: Critical approaches to Global Mental Health and Social Change (PGSP11562)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course enables students to critically engage with key policy and practice debates in global mental health including: the framing of global mental health as a policy problem; the relationships between social, psycho-social, and biomedical interventions; marginality and intersectionality including gender and social inequalities; the role of communities in global mental health; impact of war and disaster; and poverty and development. This course will draw on inter-disciplinary global mental health literature including public health, medical anthropology, social work, psychology, international development, mad studies and transcultural psychiatry.
Course description This 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 social development interventions that address health, well-being and social change. The course draws on inter-disciplinary perspective integrating relevant knowledge from cultural psychiatry, medical anthropology, development studies, public health, and social work. 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 mental health concepts, consideration of the social and cultural determinants that shape 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, well-being and social change through the use of relevant case studies from a variety of regional contexts. These sessions will develop critical perspectives on specific issues, for example, in humanitarian and conflict settings, the relationships between mental health, well-being and development, recovery oriented practice, 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 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  69
Course Start Semester 1
Course Start Date 18/09/2023
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 10, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 166 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Essay: 70%, 3000 words
Group Project: 30%
Feedback Feedback will be returned in 15 days for all assessed work. Students have the option of submitting an essay outline (unmarked).
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Develop critical understanding of the historically and culturally contextualized nature of 'mental health', 'well-being' and related concepts
  2. Critically engage with current policy and academic debates on approaches to addressing global mental health, well-being and social change.
  3. Demonstrate conceptual understandings of how cultural and social factors shape mental health and well-being in the 'global south'.
  4. Apply knowledge to critically analyse innovative policies and practice that address mental health, well-being and social change in the 'global south'
Reading List
Ecks, S. (2011). Polyspherical Pharmaceuticals: Global Psychiatry, Capitalism, and Space. In J. Jenkins (Ed.), Pharmaceutical Self: The Global Shaping of Experience in an Age of Psychopharmacology (pp. 97-116). (School of American Reserach Advanced Seminar Series). Santa Fe: School for Advanced Research Press.

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.

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:

Read, U. M., Adiibokah, E., & Nyame, S. (2009). Local suffering and the global discourse of mental health and human rights: an ethnographic study of responses to mental illness in rural Ghana. Globalization and health, 5, 13.

White R., Jain S., Orr D., Read U. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Sociocultural Perspectives on Global Mental Health. Palgrave Macmillan, London.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Sumeet Jain
Tel: (0131 6)51 1463
Course secretaryMrs Casey Behringer
Tel: (0131 6)50 2456
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