Sociology of Mental Health - SOCI5320

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Spring Term 6 15 (7.5) Jenelle Clarke checkmark-circle


This module introduces students to the sociological approach to understanding and critiquing mental health. It begins by outlining historical definitions of mental health; and how policy and practice have changed over time from incarceration in large institutions to present-day community care. Sociological perspectives of mental illness (for example, labelling and social causations of mental ill-health) are considered alongside psychiatric and psychological approaches to treating people with mental illnesses. The module then looks at social inequalities in relation to opportunities to recover, including gender and race, as well as other 'actors'. Please note, as this is not a clinical module material covered will not include in-depth investigations of specific diagnoses of mental illnesses.


Contact hours

Contact hours: 22
Private Study: 128
Total study hours: 150


This module is optional to all SSPSSR undergraduate bachelors degrees. It is also available as an elective module

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

100% coursework
Seminar Participation – 10%
Essay (3,500 words) - 90%
Students must attain a mark of at least 40% in the essay to pass the module overall.

Reassessment methods
100% coursework

Indicative reading

Davies, J, (2013) Cracked: why psychiatry is doing more harm than good, Icon Books Ltd.
Pilgrim, D. (2017) Key Concepts in Mental Health. 2nd edition or 4th edition, Los Angeles, Sage
Rogers A. and D. Pilgrim (2014) A Sociology of Mental Health & Illness, Maidenhead, Open University Press
Rose, N. (2019) Our Psychiatric Future, Oxford University Press

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
8.1 Demonstrate a sound understanding of the current sociology and social policy of mental health including knowledge that is at the forefront of debates around the contribution of sociology to the mental health field.
8.2 Demonstrate a critical awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to mental health.
8.3 Critically assess the social inequalities of e.g. social class, gender, race and additional ways in which society disables individuals with mental health problems including stigma
8.4 Interpret and critique evidence relevant to the issue of mental health.
8.5 Understand the complex relationship between mental health and other institutions.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to :
9.1 Communicate using a range of methods to both specialist and non-specialist audiences
9.2 Think conceptually
9.3 Synthesize data from the library, internet, etc sources
9.4 Reflect systematically and analytically


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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