Although mental health difficulties appear to be rising amongst Westernised populations, there are conflicting explanatory models regarding why this should be the case. This 10-week class will consider whether the field of contemporary psychiatry has advanced sufficiently to adequately explain why individuals develop psychological disorders and, moreover, why advances in understanding mental health do not necessarily correlate with an increase in treatment efficacy.
We will explore the impact of socio-cultural, economic and environmental factors on the development of psychopathology and evaluate evidence which suggests that aspects of modern life may be contributing to the rise in mental ill health. We will consider the evidence base for the categorisation and diagnosis of psychological disorders, comparing and contrasting this perspective with alternative explanatory paradigms, including an understanding of the importance of psychological diversity and the link between creativity, intelligence and madness.
We will evaluate the range of ways in which mental health and wellbeing can be improved, through changes in self-management and the ways in which we interact with each other and our environment. Finally, we will explore how we might support those who experience mental health difficulties more effectively.