This course focuses on a multi-disciplinary examination of the ways in which mental health and addiction are viewed by society and how these perceptions influence society`s response to the practical and socio-political aspects of mental illness. Students will examine personal attitudes, societal myths, and stereotypes related to mental illness and addiction. Students will be challenged to critically reflect upon how their personal orientations and resulting behaviours about mental illness, addiction, and wellness impact their cultural, societal and political beliefs.
Drawing on literature, arts, politics, media, medicine, and the social sciences, students will critically examine mental illness and addiction as a social construct and contrast and compare assumptions of agency, normalcy, treatment, and recovery. Students will also learn firsthand from those with mental illness, evaluate the effects of mental illness in special populations including Indigenous people and the elderly, and apply their learning through health simulation activities. Finally, students will explore ways that those affected by mental illness and addiction construct and assess themselves.