Fall 2022 - HSCI 214 D100

Perspectives on Mental Health and Illness (3)

Class Number: 2142

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

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

    Fr 12:30 PM – 2:20 PM
    AQ 3182, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 14, 2022
    3:30 PM – 6:30 PM
    SWH 10081, 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.


This course integrates biological, psychological, social, and spiritual forms of knowledge related to mental illness and mental wellness. We will examine major population-level forms of psychopathology including addictions and concurrent disorders, the contexts in which they occur, and the search for causal factors. The course also examines the contexts in which psychopathologies are prevented and the factors that promote recovery and wellness.

Different levels of influence on psychopathology are considered, ranging from individual level actions to those involving groups, communities, and at the level of public policy. Students will be challenged to understand the strengths and limitations of alternative approaches to promoting mental wellness and to reducing harms associated with addictions and other forms of mental illness.

Most of the required readings are from scientific journals and include articles written in different historical, social, and theoretical contexts. Students would be well served by having experience reading scientific and scholarly writings and an interest in the challenge of integrating knowledge to guide action.



Following completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Define mental illness and mental wellness and their relevance to personal and public health.
  2. Know major categories of psychopathology.
  3. Describe and differentiate between levels of evidence related to the causes of psychopathology and mental wellness.
  4. Describe empirically-supported forms of prevention and intervention affecting psychopathology at the population level.
  5. Identify factors that make individuals and groups vulnerable to psychopathology.



Regular class attendance is expected. Students are responsible for completing all assigned readings prior to class.

Grades are based on mid-terms and a final examination as specified below. All material covered up to each exam date is eligible for inclusion.

  1. Mid-term #1 25%     
  2. Mid-term #2 25%
  3. Tutorial Participation 10%
  4. Final Exam 40% (see Final Exam schedule for date & time)

The Faculty of Health Sciences Grading Guidelines state that lower division (i.e., 100-200 level) courses usually have no more than 5% A+s, and upper division (i.e., 300400 level) courses usually have no more than 8% A+s.  The median letter grade is typically in the B range.



Readings for each week, slides, and related media will be available via Canvas.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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