SHE Level 4
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code MHC823133
Module Leader Josie Williams
School School of Health and Life Sciences
Subject Psychology
  • B (January start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Normally successful completion of Applied Psychology 2, or equivalent.

Summary of Content

This module examines the theoretical models of mental distress and the ethical considerations of assessment and diagnosis. Cross cultural issues in relation to presentation and understanding of mental distress is addressed and is Important major syndromes are examined including the mood disorders, anxiety disorders, Two important considerations addressed are 'what constitutes good mental health', and 'the cultural context of diagnosis'.


-284-46 Historical overview of concepts of mental distress. Current explanatory models - medical, social, behavioural and existential. Definitions of good mental health. Psychodiagnosis - observation, interviewing, testing, and the practical and ethical problems involved. Organic, psychological and social-cultural aetiology of psychological distress. An analysis of the impact of culture on contemporary issues in mental health. Classification and description of the major disorders as described in ICD-10 and DSM 5. Major problems selected for special study will include - The anxiety disorders, the mood disorders, schizophrenia and the disorders in childhood and old age. The new discourses in mental health of recovery, spirituality and well-being.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module students should be able to:1. Understand the relevance of key historical developments in the psychology of mental health to issues in contemporary psychology (assessed by examination)2. Demonstrate an understanding of ethical issues inherent in assessment, diagnosis and labelling (assessed by essay)3. A critical awareness of the basic assumptions underlying various theoretical perspectives of mental distress (assessed by essay)4. A critical understanding of the cultural and political aspects inherent within the mental health system (assessed by essay)5. An appreciative understanding of the central importance of the perspectives of those who have experienced mental distress (assessed by examination)

Teaching / Learning Strategy

Regular programme of lectures and seminars. Tutorials consist of group discussion based on independent research/group debate, use of DVD Additional tutorials will provide formative support to aid the preparation of coursework . On line support through GCULearn. All lecture presentations/podcasts and additional materials posted on GCULearn. Individual meetings with tutors provided on request. Formative assessment will be included in this module.

Indicative Reading

-46 Cromby, J., Harper, D., & Reavey, P. (2013) Psychology, Mental Health & Distress , Palgrave, MacMillan Nolen-Hoeksema, S (2010), Abnormal Psychology , McGraw-Hill Higher Education, New York. Bentall, R.P (2003) Madness Explained. Psychosis and Human Nature , Penguin Oltmanns, T.F., Martin, M., Neale, J. & Davison, G., (2009) Case Studies in Abnormal Psychology , 8th Ed, Wiley. -45

Transferrable Skills

1. Critical evaluation of psychological theories and empirical studies 2. The development of evaluative skills with regards to key critical issues in these core areas. 3. An understanding of the key issues in each of these fields and an appreciation for real world application. 4. Responsibility for independent learning with regard to key issues covered during lectures and seminars. 5. Increased competence in t ask, time and information management

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Lectures (FT) 20.00
Seminars (FT) 6.00
Independent Learning (FT) 154.00
Assessment (FT) 20.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Exam (Exams Office) 2.00 50.00 35% 2 Hour formal exam
Coursework 1 n/a 50.00 35% Essay (3000 words)