The aim of these two 15-credit optional modules, which can be taken as a single 30 credit module, is to look critically at the field of mental illness, at psychiatric thinking and practice, and at mental health services.

The first term looks critically at the field of mental illness, focusing on how the concept of mental illness has been developed by psychiatrists, on the way in which the types of mental illness and their boundaries have been expanded over time, at some of the causes of the expansion and at whether it is possible to distinguish the normal and the pathological, considering some of the concepts and theories that can help us understand these complex developments. It looks at how mental illness is measured in epidemiological surveys, at the data generated on the distribution of mental illness by class, gender and ethnicity and at how the differences observed can be understood. It then considers the debates about causation, including the role of genetic, psychological, social and cultural factors. Throughout the debates are explored using a number of examples such as depression, anorexia nervosa and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
The second term focuses on mental health services and treatment. It first looks at the development of asylum care, the location for the emergence of psychiatry as a profession, and at the development of mental health services in the community in the twentieth century. It also considers the concepts and theoretical perspectives that can help us understand service development, examines the current mental health services, the role played by other professionals in the mental health field, such as psychiatric social workers, mental health nurses, and clinical psychologists, examining the emergence of these groups and professionalisation. It also considers the controversial issue of compulsory detention and issues concerning the difficulties of predicting dangerousness, and also stigmatisation. Finally, we look at different types of treatment and at how they can be evaluated.