PY0421 - An Introduction to Mental Health

What will I learn on this module?

On this module you will learn about the study and practice of clinical psychology, including mental health and mental illness. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) is the most well known approach to classification of mental disorders. This manual will form the basis of the module. You will be introduced to a case study film clip each week illustrating the clinical presentation of a mental disorder ‘cluster’. A lecture will introduce the diagnostic criteria and basic aetiology and treatment protocol for each disorder. Workshop sessions will give you the opportunity to explore how theory may relate to practice and reflect on issues surrounding practice as a clinical psychologist.
The module will result in a broad debate around notions of mental illness and ‘clinical’ psychology. On completion of the module you will be able to demonstrate conceptual knowledge of theories of mental illnesses and the treatment of illnesses included in the DSM. You will also be able to demonstrate knowledge of the symptoms, epidemiology, aetiology and treatment of the disorders introduced in the lectures.

How will I learn on this module?

On this module you will learn through a combination of lectures, workshops and tutorials, along with independent study.

You will attend a series of lectures to learn about the core isssues in mental health and the diagnosis of mental illness. The aim of the workshop session is to encourage deep learning, introduce new material and consolidate information learnt through lectures. Workshop sessions will be held in the specialist psychology labs, and will encourage deep learning by consolidating information learnt through lectures and independent reading by providing students with practical exercises and the opportunity for group discussion. This will give you the opportunity to relate theory to practice and will also provide you with experience of different research techniques and the opportunity for group discussion. Ethical issues will be discussed and you will be expected to communicate your ideas and findings in a group setting, showing sensitivity to the perspectives of others. Effective oral and visual communication skills will be developed through workshop tasks.

Directed study will be encouraged through the provision of reading lists, which will serve as a basis for further, independent study. This will be further encouraged through the provision of study questions and topics. Independent learning skills and reflection on the role and value of those skills will prepare you for career development learning.

Together, the learning strategies of lectures, workshops, directed and independent study aim to develop conceptual knowledge of the topic area and illustrate the range of paradigms and methods that can be used to investigate it. Tutorials will provide an opportunity for you to discuss issues related to the module with a member of staff.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Module tutors will support you by making a variety of resources linked to the lectures series, workshops and assessments available on the e-learning portal (e.g. powerpoint slides, lectures handouts, revision tasks, reading lists, mock exam paper) along with links to websites to encourage further exploration of clinical psychology. A discussion board on the e-learning portal will be available for students to pose and respond to questions among peers and to module tutors. This enhances collegiality and also means that support is available to all students. Technology enabled learning will be implemented through the use of Panopto lecture recording.

Tutorials can provide an opportunity for students to discuss issues related to the module with a member of staff.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• MK1: You will be required to demonstrate conceptual knowledge of the topic by identifying definitions of the concepts of mental health, the properties of different theories, factors to take into account when evaluating theories in mental health, and the historical development of these fields.
• MK2: Show that you recognise the inherent variability and diversity of psychological functioning.
• MK3: Demonstrate knowledge of research paradigms and methods by identifying methods for scientifically investigating and measuring mental health.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

How will I be assessed?

Formative assessment:
Formative assessment is provided through the use of self tests via the eLP and mock MCQ questions. MK1, MK2, MK3

Summative assessment:
A breadth of knowledge is essential at this level therefore a MCQ assessment will be utilised. The exam will be a two hour multiple-choice examination at the end of the module. The exam will comprise of 100 questions MK1, MK2, MK3

Feedback is provided via the e-learning portal. Cohort mean, standard deviation and distribtuions of marks for the exam, so students can compare their performance with that of their cohort.





Module abstract

The module aims to introduce you to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental disorders as a framework for understanding and classifying mental illness. Lectures will utilize case study presentation to illustrate how mental illness is understood in terms of the clinical presentation, symptomatology, epidemiology, aetiology and general treatment approaches in relation to the major categories of disorder; and workshops will allow students to to perform and interpret practical exercises to aid understanding of mental illness.
Your learning will be supported by a variety of e-learning resources and lecture recording and you will be assessed by a two hour multiple choice examination at the end of the module. Group work in workshops will encourage development of communication skills and teamwork.

Course info

UCAS Code C800

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time or 4 years with optional study abroad year

Department Psychology

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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