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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

HLTH 4411: Introduction to Mental Health

Using an interdisciplinary approach to study mental health, mental illness, and substance use, students will examine a variety of perspectives and contextual factors used to explore issues and concepts of mental health. Distribution patterns, risk factors, organization of health systems, and societal efforts toward prevention and treatment will also be reviewed. A focus will be placed on understanding the social determinants of health and exploring issues from a population and public health perspective.

Learning outcomes

  • Develop a better understanding of the broad range of perspectives (e.g., biological, psychological, sociological, historical, political) applied to explain mental health, mental illness, substance use, substance use disorder, and addiction.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the prevalence and distribution of mental disorders and substance use disorders amongst the Canadian population.
  • Gain a better understanding of prominent risk factors for mental disorder and harmful substance use and preventive strategies to decrease risk throughout the life course.
  • Gain an understanding of common mental health issues and challenges that arise during the life course and public health approaches to promote mental health amongst the Canadian population.
  • Develop an understanding of the structure and organization of public services, policies and supports (including healthcare services, social services, and legislation) that exist in Canada and other nations to address mental illness and substance use disorder.

Course topics

  • Lesson 1: What Is Mental Health? (Textbook Chapter 1)
  • Lesson 2: Mental Health through Physical Sciences (Textbook Chapter 2)
  • Lesson 3: Mental Health through Social Science (Textbook Chapter 3)
  • Lesson 4: The Spectrum of Mental Health Challenges (Textbook Chapter 4)
  • Lesson 5: Population Perspectives on Mental Health and Substance Use (Textbook Chapter 17)
  • Lesson 6: Indigenous Stigma, Discrimination, and Mental Health (Textbook Chapter 8)
  • Lesson 7: Mental Health—Children and Youth (Textbook Chapter 9)
  • Lesson 8: Sex, Gender, and Sexuality (Textbook Chapter 7)
  • Lesson 9: Culture, Ethnicity, and Mental Health (Textbook Chapter 8)
  • Lesson 10: Mental Health—Older Adults (Textbook Chapter 10)
  • Lesson 11: Trauma, Violence, and Mental Health (Textbook Chapter 6)
  • Lesson 12: The Mental Health System in Canada (Textbook Chapter 15)

Required text and materials

The following material is required for this course:

  1. Jenkins, E., Slemon, A., Bilsker, D., & Goldner, E. (2022). A Concise Introduction to Mental Health in Canada (3rd ed.). Canadian Scholars.
    Type: Textbook. ISBN: 9781773382524


Please be aware that should your course have a final exam, you are responsible for the fee to the online proctoring service, ProctorU, or to the in-person approved Testing Centre. Please contact with any questions about this.

To successfully complete this course, students must achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on the overall course and 50% or higher on the mandatory final project.

Assignment 1: Mini Essay 1 15%
Midterm 20%
Assignment 2: Video Presentation 20%
Assignment 3: Mini Essay 2 15%
Mandatory Final Exam 30%
Total 100%

* Mandatory

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.

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