Fall 2021 - HSCI 214 D100

Perspectives on Mental Health and Illness (3)

Class Number: 2124

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 1:30 PM – 2:20 PM
    SWH 10081, Burnaby

    Fr 12:30 PM – 2:20 PM
    SSCB 9201, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 11, 2021
    3:30 PM – 6:30 PM
    GYM CENTRAL, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    HSCI 100 or BISC 101, HSCI 130, all with a minimum grade of C-.



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.


An interdisciplinary overview of mental health and illness with a public health approach. A review of the distribution, risk factors and treatments for mental disorders, in addition to the historical and cultural context of their development. Includes the study of personal narratives from people with lived experience of mental illness and substance use, and how these relate to course material.

This course will take an interdisciplinary approach to the study of mental health, mental illness, and substance use. These concepts will be explored from different perspectives, including historical, biological, psychological, clinical, epidemiological, and socio-economic. Distribution patterns, risk factors, organization of health systems and societal efforts toward prevention and treatment will be reviewed, with the goal of providing tools to understand the most relevant aspects of mental health in Canada and globally.


  1. 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 disorders, and addiction
  2. To demonstrate knowledge of the prevalence and distribution of mental and substance use disorders in the population, with emphasis on Canada
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. To appreciate studied concepts from the perspective of individuals living with mental and/or substance use disorders


  • Attendance and participation 20%
  • Written Assignment 20%
  • Midterm exam 25%
  • Final exam 35%



An iClicker remote or iClicker App (“iClicker Reef”) will be required. Participation marks will require use of an iClicker and Canvas.


An Introduction to Mental Health and Illness: Critical Perspectives. Oxford University Press. Edited by Mat Savelli, James Gillett and Gavin J. Andrews. 2020

ISBN: 9780199026050

Supplemental readings from the following will be used in some weeks:

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

▪ Please note that this is a relatively “easy” read! (Not textbook style.)

ISBN: 9780195370454

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


Teaching at SFU in fall 2021 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with approximately 70 to 80 per cent of classes in person/on campus, with safety plans in place.  Whether your course will be in-person or through remote methods will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the fall 2021 term.