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Community Practice: Mental Health

Course Code: CSSW 2363
Faculty: Child, Family & Community Studies
Department: Community Social Service Work
Credits: 3.0
Semester: Flexible delivery ranging over 2 to 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course explores the values, attitudes, knowledge and skills required to understand mental illness and promote recovery of individuals in the community who have mental disorders. Students will have opportunities to explore the nature of mental illness through the eyes of individuals who have experienced mental health problems. Students will learn about the causes, symptoms and treatment of mental illness. Community resources and an overview of mental health services will be discussed together with an exploration of the role of social service worker in working with persons who have mental disorders.

Course Content

The following global ideas guide the design and delivery of this course:

  • Values, attitudes and beliefs influence our interactions with people with mental disorders.
  • A basic understanding of current classifications and treatments for mental illness helps to develop values and attitudes that support recovery.
  • Social networks promote wellness and are needed by those whose illness may separate them from others. 
  • Professional development and wellness initiatives strengthen effective worker performance.
  • A basic knowledge of provincial mental health services will facilitate the worker being able to negotiate with and advocate for individuals needing their services.
  • Despite the challenges of living with a mental disorder, people possess inherent capacity and resiliency that can be mobilized for change.  Strength based approaches are essential for supporting this process.

Methods of Instruction

  • Lecture
  • Group work
  • Guest Speakers
  • Use of multimedia resources

Means of Assessment

This course will conform to Douglas College policy regarding the number and weighting of evaluations.  Typical means of evaluation would include a combination of:

  • Examinations
  • Research papers
  • Participation
  • Attendance

 This is a letter graded course

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, within the following content areas the student will be able to:

  1. Knowledge of Mental Health/Illness
    • demonstrate an understanding of historical and current social attitudes that have led to the stigmatization of people with mental disorders
    • demonstrate awareness of the social determinants of health and the effect that they may have on recovery from mental illness
    • demonstrate an understanding of the types and key characteristics of mental illness
    • demonstrate an understanding of the current DSM diagnostic system and its benefits/limitations   
    • identify the major treatment approaches and techniques for working with people who have mental disorders
    • demonstrate an understanding of the impact of mental illness on individuals, family and society
    • demonstrate understanding of the cultural variables associated with the assessment and treatment of mental disorders
    • demonstrate an awareness of the major challenges for persons with mental disorders (e.g., stigmatization, medication side effects, marginalization, decreased mental capacity)
    • demonstrate awareness of major medications  and their side effects
  2. Knowledge of the Mental Health System
    • demonstrate knowledge the mental health service system and legislation in Canada and B.C., including the roles of related professionals
    • identify  housing options
    • discuss client and family empowerment initiatives
    • demonstrate a basic knowledge of current and future directions in mental health policy

course prerequisites

CSSW 1122

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.