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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

By working through the learning activities in this course, participants will:

  • 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?
  • Lesson 2: Biological Foundations of Mental Health & Mental Illness
  • Lesson 3: Social Sciences and Mental Health
  • Lesson 4: Diagnosis and Classification of Mental Illness
  • Lesson 5: Substance Use and Addictions
  • Lesson 6: Stigma, Discrimination and Mental Health in the Workplace
  • Lesson 7: Mental Health Across the Lifespan: Children and Youth
  • Lesson 8: Diversity in Mental Health
  • Lesson 9: Mental Health Across the Lifespan: Older Adults
  • Lesson 10: Responding to Crisis and Providing Treatment
  • Lesson 11: The Mental Health System in Canada
  • Lesson 12: Improving Population and Public Health

Required text and materials

Goldner, E., Jenkins, E., Prairie, J, Bilsker, D. A Concise Introduction to Mental Health in Canada. 2nd edition. Toronto: Canadian Scholars' Press, (2016).
Type: Textbook, ISBN: 978-1-55130906-4


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: Case Study Part A 25%
Assignment 2: Exploring Experiences of Stigma and Discrimination 25%
Assignment 3: Case Study Part B 25%
Final Project: Public Service Announcement (PSA) Presentation* 25%
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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