Fall 2019 - HSCI 214 D100

Perspectives on Mental Health and Illness (3)

Class Number: 2612

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Fr 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    SSCB 9201, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 11, 2019
    12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
    SSCC 9001, Burnaby

  • Instructor:

    Stefanie Rezansoff
    Office: BLU 11832 (Burnaby Campus); TBD Downtown Campus (Harbour Centre)
    Office Hours: TBD
  • Prerequisites:

    HSCI 100 or BISC 101, HSCI 130.



An interdisciplinary overview of mental health and mental illness among populations. A review of the distribution and risk factors of mental illnesses as well as the historical and cultural context of their development.


The course will take an interdisciplinary approach to the study of mental health, mental illness and substance use. Concepts in mental health and illness will be explored from different perspectives - historical, biological, sociological, psychological, clinical, epidemiological and socio-economic - with an overall focus on the population level (and emphasis on Canada). Distribution patterns, risk factors, organization of health systems and societal efforts toward prevention and treatment will also be reviewed, with the goal of providing tools to understand the most relevant aspects of mental health in Canada and globally. The course will also include the study of first-person accounts from people living with mental and/or substance use disorders, and how these narratives correspond to points covered throughout the course.


  • To develop a better understanding of the broad range of perspectives (e.g., biological, psychological, sociological, historical, political, personal) applied to explain mental health, mental illness, substance use, substance use disorder and addiction.
  • To demonstrate knowledge of the prevalence and distribution of mental and substance use disorders in the population, (emphasis on Canada).
  • To gain a better understanding of prominent risk factors for mental disorder and harmful substance use, and preventative strategies to decrease risk throughout the life course.
  • To gain an understanding of common mental health issues and challenges that arise during the life course, and public heath approaches to promote mental health in populations. 
  • To develop an understanding of the structure and organization of public services, policies and supports (including healthcare services, social services and legislation) that exist globally to address mental illness and substance use disorders. 
  • To examine first-person accounts from individuals living with mental and/or substance use disorders, and how these narratives correspond to points covered throughout the course.


  • Participation 20%
  • Written Assignment 20%
  • Midterm Exam 25%
  • Final Exam 35%


There will be one 3-hour lecture per week plus one 50-minute tutorial per week.
The instructor may make changes to the syllabus if necessary, within Faculty/University regulations.



iClicker is required.


Goldner EM, Jenkins E, Bilsker D. A Concise Introduction to Mental Health in Canada. 2nd Edition Canadian Scholars Press Inc., Toronto, 2016.

Karp DA & Sisson GE. Voices from the Inside: Readings on the Experience of Mental Illness. (Any edition) Oxford University Press, USA, (first published 2009).

Any additional selected readings will be noted on the class syllabus. These will be made available to students on-line.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html