Mental Health Studies
Mental Health Studies is a program that explores the biological, psychological, and general health related factors that influence a person’s mental well-being. This program includes courses in biology, psychology, health, sociology, and social work. It addresses not only what mental health is, but what contributes to a person’s mental health and how to improve their mental health. I created this program so that I could pursue a degree in what I am interested and feel passionate about. The prevalence of mental health issues in today’s society and the experiences I’ve encountered concerning mental health, have given me a personal connection and a passion to study and understand more about it. This major is unique because it has a narrow focus on a specific topic in psychology and incorporates supporting courses from other departments. With a standard major of psychology or biology I wouldn’t be able to focus on the mental health topic in as much depth as I can with this program; nor have the opportunity to study this topic from different academic perspectives.
I’ve included many courses in various areas of study. The courses in biology that I’ve included are Human Anatomy and Physiology I & II and Neurobiology. Human Anatomy and Physiology I & II are important in learning about the essential components and systems in the body and how they operate. By understanding bodily functions, I will be able to identify the implications a person’s mental health can have on their entire body and vice versa. Neurobiology allows me to learn more about the brain from a biological standpoint. This class will help me focus on the most complex organ in our body and explore the brain’s functions in greater detail than in Human A&P. This class will help me to understand how the brain functions in different areas and how it inputs into the rest of the body.
The courses in psychology that I’ve included are Abnormal Psychology, Behavioral Neuroscience, Personality, Treatment of Psychological Disorders, and Community Mental Health. Abnormal Psychology is important for this program because it focuses on psychopathology. This course is central to mental health studies because it examines psychological disorders and their symptoms. In this class I will develop a more thorough understanding of psychological variations and how modern mental health has evolved into what it is today. It will also include many different perspectives on mental health and how to appropriately discuss psychological disorders. Behavioral Neuroscience is also integral to this program. This course examines the anatomy of the brain and the neural processes from a psychological perspective. Mental disorders are studied in terms of brain functioning and what damage to individual parts of the brain could result in. Personality focuses on different theories of how personality is developed and how it can form a person’s general perspective on life. This allows me to understand how different experiences during personality development can affect a person’s mental well-being. Treatment of Psychological Disorders identifies different strategies to treat various psychological disorders. Many different approaches to such treatment are discussed and examined. Community Mental Health concentrates on context and community and how it influences mental health. It also discusses the best methods of preventing mental health problems.
Health education courses included in this program are Drug Behavior, Mental Health Issues, and Applied Nutrition for Healthy Living. Drug Behavior examines different classes of drugs, including prescription drugs, as well as illegal drugs. Understanding drugs, and how they affect our body, is important in identifying how drugs and pharmaceuticals can manipulate biological processes. Mental Health Issues provides information on mental health and resources that can help with these issues. It also investigates various theories concerning behavioral changes. Applied Nutrition for Health Living focuses on the body’s reactions to foods and substances that are consumed. This includes metabolic processes and what substances are important for our bodies to properly function. Macromolecules, vitamins, and minerals important to our health are identified and what repercussions result from consuming too much or not enough of these substances.
Mental Health and Society is a social work course that is included in this program. This course examines how different social aspects can affect a person’s mental health. These social aspects include class, race, gender, ethnicity, age, and many other components of social interactions. It also discusses mental health services and practices, cross-culturally.
Illness, Wellness, and Healing is sociology course that is part of this program. Illness, Wellness, and Healing studies the history of disease and medicine and how it has evolved to our modern understanding. It examines medicine, disease, and their social implications in cultures all over the world.
I am including Statistics I in my program as my QRCO. This class is important to include because it provides understanding of how to perform statistical tests, which can be used to analyze data.
My program is interdisciplinary because it incorporates courses from many different areas of study and provides an integrated perspective of these areas on mental health. This program allows me to study mental health from a biological, psychological, sociological, and health education lens. Mental health is a complicated topic of study that is best understood using the points of perspective that are encompassed in this program. By studying mental health in various disciplines, I can understand biological processes deeper than in a psychology class. Conversely, I can study the behavioral aspects of mental illness more comprehensively in psychology classes than I would in a biology course. This program is important to me because I want to work with people who struggle with mental illnesses and help them overcome challenges they face. With a degree in mental health studies I can develop a foundation of knowledge on mental health and use it to pursue careers such as psychiatric nursing or working in substance abuse rehabilitation programs. My main goal in pursuing this degree, is to develop a better understanding of the best ways to help people who struggle with mental illness.
I am now in my senior year fall semester with only two more classes to take before I am done with my major. I have made one small change to my program. I switched Mental Health Issues with Stress Management, but I’m hoping to change that with independent research that I will be conducting throughout the semester. My future plans are still the same, however I am leaning more towards going into the addiction realm of things and working with rehabilitation programs and things of that nature. Nursing is still an option for me, but I’ve recently moved it to the backburner for reasons I don’t even know. I’m hoping to do my applied project in one of those fields and hopefully get an internship in the other one, whichever that may be. I didn’t realize how quickly college would come to an end. I still feel like I’m too young and uneducated to make such substantial decisions for my future, but I could continue to say that for my whole life or just take the plunge and go with my gut. Who knows? I think that as long as I have goals, the sky is the limit. I just need to make sure that I’m making moves to bring my goals and plans to fruition. Make some forward motion. I would hate to get a job for the time being and become complacent about working towards those goals. Either way, I think it’s safe to say I’m both nervous and excited for whatever I plan to do with my degree. The main thing I want for myself is to do something that will impact people in a positive way. Whatever that may be. Obviously, I have an idea of what I want my career to look like, but If for some reason it doesn’t work out that way, as long as I’m making someone’s life even a tiny bit better, I’ll be content.