Wellcome to.... The Science of Mental Health

Ref: C3530774

This course investigates the scientific basis for some of the most common Psychiatric diagnoses. We shall examine the science behind some of the explanations provided and review the evidence for the effectiveness of some of the treatments on offer. This is not a therapy course; it aims to help you think critically about the claims and counter claims in the field of mental health. We will explore issues regarding definitions of normality, the boundaries of sanity and the power of medical professionals. The course will examine the diagnosis, some explanations and treatments for Schizophrenia, Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Phobias, Eating disorders and Autism. Expect challenging ideas and friendly discussion. This course is part of the Building a Fair Society with Healthy Lives project funded by the Wellcome Trust. Extensive back up materials will be available using Canvas, the WEA's online classroom.

Course aim

To critically examine the scientific evidence underpinning our current understanding of mental health including the classifications, explanations and treatments for a range of psychological disorders.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • You will need your own personal email address so that you’re able to login to the WEA’s digital learning platform: WEA Canvas. You will need to be able to understand how to follow URL links to pages on the internet. If you want to understand more about Canvas please visit: http://bit.ly/WEAonline
  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is open to all and requires no prior learning or experience. It is educational rather than therapeutic. If you are unsure if it is suitable for you then you can request that the tutor contact you by phone or e-mail by ringing 0300 303 3464 quoting the course code C3530774.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • appreciate the strengths and limitations of a 'science of mental health as proposed by the Wellcome trust.
  • identify key characteristics used in the diagnosis of some common psychiatric conditions and to be able to examine why some of these are questioned by some researchers in the field.
  • discuss the power of psychiatric labels in forming personal identities and reflect on how these influence our own behaviour and that of others.
  • outline some of the advantages and disadvantages of different types of explanations and treatments provided for some types of mental disorder.
  • feel more prepared take part in action for positive change toward building a fairer society for those affected by mental health conditions of all kinds and toward the creation of a more Psychologically healthy society for all.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA’s digital learning platform, Canvas will be used to provide resources or to support lessons, enable assessment, provide learner feedback and for other activities for individuals away from the course. If you want to understand more about our digital learning platform please visit: http://bit.ly/WEAonline
  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • Face to face sessions will include a presentation of key ideas and plenty of opportunity to discuss these.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • As well as generic feedback on contributions to group discussions the online platform will be used to provide individualised feedback using open questions and multiple choice quizzes. All these are optional, their is no compulsory assessment for this course.

What else do I need to know?

  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)
  • Use of the online opportunities are completely optional and not a course requirement. Hard copy presentation materials will be available for those without easy access to online sources.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre-course reading is required but some background information will be made available prior to the first session.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information http://pearl.open.ac.uk/
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here http://www.wea.org.uk/learn-wea/what-can-i-do-next
  • There may also be a follow up course in the Spring Term.

Download full course information sheet

Wellcome to.... The Science of Mental Health


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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