Psychiatry and Mental Illness

The details
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Sunday 17 January 2021
Friday 26 March 2021
29 June 2020


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

This module focuses on mental health services and treatment. We will look at the development of asylum, which was the location for the emergence of psychiatry as a profession, at the some of the ideas underpinning their development such as moral treatment and at the pressures that led to custodial institutions. We will explore the growth of office psychiatry, and then at the twentieth century move of mental health provision into the community. We will examine the current mental health services, the power of psychiatrists and the role played by other professionals in the mental health field, such as psychiatric social workers, psychiatric nurses and clinical psychologists. We will then look at the different types of treatment, physical and psychological at how they can be evaluated, and at what the evidence from these evaluations shows. Finally, we will also consider the controversial issue of compulsory detention, at issues of violence and dangerousness, and at stigmatisation.

Module aims

One aim is to give students an understanding of the historical development of mental health services and of the ideas and forces that shape service provision. A second aim is to give students an understanding of the various treatments used for those identified as having a mental illness, and what we know about their efficacy and effectiveness

Module learning outcomes

To further our insight into our understanding of mental health services and treatments

Module information

Please note that assessment information is currently showing for 2019-20 and will be updated in September.

Learning and teaching methods

There is one lecture and a separate smaller class each week


  • Pilgrim, David; Rogers, Anne. (2009) 'Survival and its discontents: the case of British psychiatry', in Sociology of Health & Illness. vol. 31 (7) , pp.947-961
  • Hollingshead, August de Belmont; Redlich, Fredrick C. (1958) Social class and mental illness: a community study, New York: Wiley.
  • George W. Brown; Tirril O. Harris. (1978) Social origins of depression: a study of psychiatric disorder in women, London: Routledge. vol. International Behavioural and Social Science Library : Mind and Medicine
  • Bentall, Richard P. (2010) Doctoring the mind: why psychiatric treatments fail, London: Penguin.
  • Falk Leichsenring et al. (2009) 'Short-Term Psychodynamic Psychotherapy and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy in Generalized Anxiety Disorder: A Randomized, Controlled Trial', in American Journal of Psychiatry. vol. 166 (8) , pp.875-881
  • American Psychiatric Association; American Psychiatric Association. DSM-5 Task Force. (c2013) Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5, Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association.
  • American Psychiatric Association; American Psychiatric Association. DSM-5 Task Force. (2013) Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5, Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association.
  • Susie Orbach. (2005) Hunger strike: the anorectic's struggle as a metaphor for our age, London: Karnac Books.
  • Busfield, J. (2012) 'Challenging claims that mental illness is increasing and mental well-being declining', in social science and medicine. vol. 75 (3) , pp.581-588
  • Plomin, Robert; Davis, Oliver S.P. (2009) 'The future of genetics in psychology and psychiatry: microarrays, genome-wide association, and non-coding RNA', in Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. vol. 50 (1-2) , pp.63-71
  • Erving Goffman. (2007) Asylums: essays on the social situation of mental patients and other inmates, New Brunswick, NJ: Aldine Transaction.
  • Bebbington, P.; Jonas, S.; Kuipers, E.; King, M.; Cooper, C.; Brugha, T.; Meltzer, H.; McManus, S.; Jenkins, R. (2011) 'Childhood sexual abuse and psychosis: data from a cross-sectional national psychiatric survey in England', in The British Journal of Psychiatry. vol. 199 (1) , pp.29-37
  • Shaw, J.; Hunt, I. M.; Flynn, S.; Meehan, J.; Robinson, J.; Bickley, H.; Parsons, R.; McCann, K.; Burns, J.; Amos, T.; Kapur, N.; Appleby, L. (2006) 'Rates of mental disorder in people convicted of homicide: National clinical survey', in The British Journal of Psychiatry. vol. 188 (2) , pp.143-147
  • Kirsch, Irving; Deacon, Brett J; Huedo-Medina, Tania B; Scoboria, Alan; Moore, Thomas J; Johnson, Blair T. (2008) 'Initial Severity and Antidepressant Benefits: A Meta-Analysis of Data Submitted to the Food and Drug Administration', in PLoS Medicine. vol. 5 (2) , pp.e45-
  • Christopher Lane. (2007) Shyness: how normal behavior became a sickness, New Haven: Yale University Press.
  • Scull, Andrew. (1979) Museums of madness: the social organization of insanity in nineteenth-century England, London: Allen Lane.
  • Busfield, Joan. (2011) Mental illness, Cambridge: Polity. vol. Key concepts
  • The New Definition of a Mental Disorder [contains DSM-5 definition of mental disorder],
  • Scull, Andrew. (2014) Cultural sociology of mental illness: an A-to-Z guide, ©2014: SAGE Publications.
  • Goffman, Erving. (1990, 1963) Stigma: notes on the management of spoiled identity, Harmondsworth: Penguin. vol. Penguin psychology
  • Scull, Andrew. (1977) Decarceration: community treatment and the deviant : a radical view, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall. vol. A Spectrum book
  • Peter Conrad and Deborah Potter. (2000) 'From Hyperactive Children to ADHD Adults: Observations on the Expansion of Medical Categories', in Social Problems. vol. 47 (4) , pp.559-582

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Essay     100% 
Exam  120 minutes during Summer (Main Period) (Main) 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
50% 50%


Coursework Exam
50% 50%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof Joan Busfield, email:
Professor Joan Busfield
Jane Harper, Student Administrator, Telephone: 01206 873052 E-mail:



External examiner

Dr Jennifer Fleetwood
Goldsmiths, University of London
Senior Lecturer in Criminology
Available via Moodle
Of 52 hours, 52 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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