Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)

Module PSYC3717: Current Issues in Mental Health

Department: Psychology

PSYC3717: Current Issues in Mental Health

Type Open Level 3 Credits 10 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • 60 credits from Level 2 Psychology


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • In this module you will learn about some of the key issues in contemporary mental health research and practice. Along with learning about specific mental health conditions (such as schizophrenia or depression), you will learn to navigate some of the main debates and controversies that affect mental health as a whole, including how we draw the boundaries between healthy experience and ill health in the general population.


  • This module examines theoretical and clinical approaches to conditions such as anxiety, phobia, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and dissociation.
  • It begins with a focus on psychiatric diagnosis, and how this might differ from the concept of “formulation” in clinical psychology. Other topics that will be covered include whether mental health conditions should be approached categorically or dimensionally, the utility of digital therapies, and the effectiveness of psychological therapy.
  • The module will also cover related conceptual and historical issues in psychology

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Detailed knowledge of mental health research and practice, including current theory and evidence
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Ability to review critically and consolidate understanding of a coherent body of psychological knowledge and apply it appropriately
Key Skills:
  • Good written communication skills
  • Good IT skills in word processing
  • Ability to work independently in scholarship and research within broad guidelines

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Students' acquisition of detailed knowledge will be facilitated by lectures, audio-visual materials, discussions and reading lists
  • These modes of teaching provide students with detailed knowledge of the key theories and the skills needed to evaluate different theoretical positions in light of current evidence
  • The examination will assess students' detailed subject knowledge through essays written during the examination.
  • An assessment of the range, recency and appropriateness of sources will be included in the overall assessment of the exam essays
  • The use of group discussions will ensure that students are exposed to a range of different theoretical positions, and encouraged to understand their inter-relations
  • Lectures, discussions and online content will also give students the opportunity to interpret and evaluate the significance of empirical work
  • The summative examination will also assess students' written communication skills
  • The module will be taught using lectures supplemented with online material. enter text as appropriate for the module

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
1 hour lectures 10 1 per week 1 hour 10
1 hour online material 10 1 per week 1 hour 10
Preparation and Reading 80
Total 100

Summative Assessment

Component: Summative Examination Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Examination 2 hours 100%

Formative Assessment:


Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University