Fall 2021 - HSCI 485 D100

Senior Seminar in Mental Health and Addictions (3)

Class Number: 2151

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 8:30 AM – 11:20 AM
    BLU 10401, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    90 units, including at least 15 upper division HSCI units with a minimum grade of C-. Other prerequisites may vary according to topic.



Treatment of current issues in mental health and addictions from a population and public health perspective. Students will examine several topics from theoretical, methodological and policy perspectives.


Children's Mental Health

Children’s social and emotional wellbeing – or mental health – is central to the health of populations. Yet in Canada and elsewhere, we fail to adequately address the mental health needs pf young people — leading to adverse consequences across the lifespan and making this a pressing population health and child rights problem. This seminar will therefore introduce you to children’s mental health and the associated policy and practice issues from a population health perspective. Topics will include: healthy social and emotional development; early social and biological determinants of mental health and disorder; epidemiology and life-long impact of childhood mental disorders; effective promotion, prevention and treatment strategies; current program and service shortfalls; approaches for understanding and positively influencing policy and practice for children; children’s rights; and resilience and leadership lessons from Indigenous communities. Welcome!

During each three-hour weekly seminar we will work through: 1) research-based content overviews; 2) “real-world” policy and practice case studies; 3) required readings related to the overviews and case studies; and 4) current news events pertaining to a wide range of topics related to children’s mental health. Class discussions and group work will help you consolidate your learning, as will frequent presentations. Two written assignments will further strengthen your skills in finding, critically appraising and synthesizing health research evidence – while also gaining in-depth knowledge on the children’s mental health topic of your choice. Final presentations will allow everyone to showcase their learning and their research topics.


After completing this seminar, you will be able to:
1. Describe leading children’s mental health problems and their importance for the health of populations;
2. Identify potential policy and practice approaches to resolving the problems;
3. Find, critically appraise and synthesize health research evidence;
4. Apply your knowledge in understanding related current news events locally and globally; and
5. Present your ideas effectively in writing and in discussions and presentations.


  • Reflections/presentations on readings and “children in the news” (several over the term) 30%
  • Research proposal (due October 2021) and final paper (due December 2021) 40%
  • Final presentation (at the end of term) 20%
  • Engagement in class conversations (throughout the term) 10%


Please note that the focus of this seminar is children’s mental health.


This is an intensive senior undergraduate seminar for Health Sciences students who are nearing graduation. Accordingly, you are expected to come with solid critical thinking, writing and research skills. The content pertains to children’s mental health – and to the policy and practice approaches that are needed to address both the health of populations and children’s rights. At the same time, the process will emphasize the further development of critical thinking, effective writing and presenting, research and teamwork skills. These skills are vital for success in any health career – whether in public health practice, healthcare professional, administrative, policy, community advocacy or research settings. So if you enroll, plan to be challenged, but also plan to enjoy honing skills that will serve you well in the health field in future.



Readings will be provided via Canvas at the beginning of term; there is no required text.

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.