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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Making Sense of Mental Health & Illness
Module Code NS432
School 38
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Mark Philbin
Semester 2: Mark Philbin
Autumn: Mark Philbin
Module TeachersMark Philbin
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Coursework Only

Using the CHIME framework of mental health recovery, we explore the significance of connection, hope, identity, meaning and empowerment for making sense of mental health and illness.

Learning Outcomes

1. Explore the CHIME Framework (connection, hope, identity, meaning, empowerment) of mental health recovery as way of making sense of mental health and illness.
2. Discuss the nature and historical development of psychiatric confinement and institutions.
3. Consider the relations between mental health and social connection/disconnection.
4. Explore the meanings and significance of hope as this relates to mental health.
5. Consider the implications of psychiatric designation for identity, selfhood and social standing.
6. Explain the meaning and significance of living with oneself in the context of psychosis and psychiatric designation.
7. Examine the significance of various ways of explaining mental health problems.
8. Explore 'reasons to live' as an issue in surviving adversity and mental health.
9. Consider the meanings of agency and empowerment as they relate to mental health.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture24Classroom participation and learning
Directed learning24Focused on video and reading resources
Assignment Completion40Essay preparation and completion
Independent Study37Student self direction
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

"A Journey of the Heart": Ideas about mental health recovery
Patricia Deegan on her own recovery and its lessons; ideas of recovery; de-emphasising professional expertise and treatment; the CHIME model- recovery as connection, hope, identity, meaning and empowerment; CHIME as a basis for a general account of mental health and illness.

Connection and mental health 1: Psychiatric confinement and segregation, past and present
The history and development of the asylum system; total institutions; deinstitutionalisation; institutional coercion considered.

Connection and mental health 2: Aloneness, relatedness and social involvement
Solitude and loneliness; "anomie" and disconnection; social defeat; depression and disconnection; social capital and mental health; belonging and affiliation; digital relationships and face-to-face contact; mobilities and mental health; family and mental health; mental health in a shared world.

Hope and mental health: "People will respect me and I'll be able to get a girlfriend"
Hopelessness; expectations and mental health outcomes; conceptualisations of hope; hope as agency and pathways; notions of false hope; "the courage of hopelessness"; hope and survival; hope and resilience; hope-enhancing conversation; social hope.

Identity and mental health 1: Psychiatric designation and selfhood
Mental health problems as "illness"; strong and weak medical models; labelling, stigma and discrimination; living inside and outside of psychiatric identification; critiques of illness conceptualisations.

Identity and mental health 2: "I had to be either a CIA agent or a mental patient. Which would you choose?"
Notions of insight; living with oneself; being true to oneself; struggles over oneself; forming new identities; acceptance and resistance.

Meaning and mental health 1: Explaining mental health problems
The significance of explanation; biography and mental health; trauma, stress, and neglect; biomedical models and their limitations; culture, gender and mental health; mental health as a phenomenon "in-the-world".

Meaning and mental health 2: "Reasons to live"
Frankl and survival; purpose and family as reasons to live; the significance of reasons to live; tragic optimism; death and meaning; freedom, responsibility and meaning.

Empowerment and agency: "Taking credit for success"
Ipseity and self awareness; agency as a problem; attributing credit to oneself; learned optimism; building on success and strengths; strengths-based perspectives; goals and goaling; collective agency and empowerment; survivor organisations, social movements and mental health.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
EssayOn the significance of CHIME for making sense of mental health and illness80%Sem 1 End
Completion of online activityEvaluation of the module10%Sem 1 End
ParticipationFor attendance and participation in live classes.10%Every Week
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Damien Brennan: 2013, Irish Insanity, 1800-2000, Routledge, 9780415522250
  • Bruce M. Z. Cohen: 2017, Routledge International Handbook of Critical Mental Health, Routledge International Handbooks, 9781138225473
  • Larry Davidson: 2003, Living Outside Mental Illness, NYU Press, 0-8147-1942-2
  • Émile Durkheim: 2006, Suicide: Social causes and social types, Routledge, 9780415278317
  • Erving Goffman: 1968, Asylums, Penguin, 9780140210071
  • Mark Finnane: 1981, Insanity and the Insane in Post-famine Ireland, Taylor & Francis, 9780389202127
  • Viktor Emil Frankl: 2004, Man's Search for Meaning, Random House, 9781844132393
  • Erving Goffman: 1990, Stigma, Penguin Books, Limited (UK), 9780140124750
  • Martin Hägglund: 2020, This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom, Anchor, 9781101873731
  • David Allen Karp: 1997, Speaking of Sadness, Oxford University Press, USA, 9780195113860
  • David A. Karp: 2002, The Burden of Sympathy, Oxford University Press, USA, 9780195152449
  • Susanna Kaysen: 2000, Girl, Interrupted, Virago Press, 9781860497926
  • Brendan Kelly: 2016, Hearing Voices: The history of psychiatry in Ireland, Irish Academic Press, 9781911024347
  • Brendan D. Kelly: 2018, Mental Illness, Human Rights and the Law, Royal College of Psychiatrists, 9781909726512
  • Kate Millett: 2000, The Loony-Bin Trip, 2nd Ed, University of Illinois Press, 9780252068881
  • Susan Pinker: 2014, The Village Effect:Why face-to-cae contact matters, Atlantic Books Ltd, 9781782390183
  • Patrick Quinlan: 2021, Walls of Confinement: The architecture and landscapes of lunacy, University College Press, Dublin, 9781910820742
  • Elyn R. Saks: 2007, The Centre Cannot Hold, Virago Press, 9781844081622
  • Steve De Shazer: 1994, Words Were Originally Magic, W W Norton & Company Incorporated, 9780393701708
  • Anthony Scott: 2002, Is that Me?, Spotlight Poets, 9781899047918
  • Andrew Scull: 2022, Desperate Remedies, Allen Lane, 0241509246
  • C. R. Snyder: 2000, Handbook of Hope, Academic Press, 9780126540505
  • Thomas Szasz: 2010, The Myth of Mental Illness, 3rd Ed, Harper Perennial, 9780061771
  • Thomas Stephen Szasz: 2007, Coercion as Cure, Transaction Pub, 9780765803795
  • J. William Worden: 1991, Grief Counselling and Grief Therapy, Psychology Press, 9780415071796
  • Irvin Yalom,Marilyn Yalom: 2021, A Matter of Death and Life, Piatkus Books, 9780349428574
  • Slavoj Žižek: 2017, The Courage of Hopelessness, Allen Lane, 9780241305577
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
BHSBachelor of Science in Health & Society
BPYBSc (Honours) in Psychology
Date of Last Revision02-OCT-08

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