Perspectives on Mental Illness

This course explores not only the scientific basis for mental illness and treatment, but also how cultural, political, and economic forces impact mental health policy. Students consider issues such as whether patients have rights to refuse treatment, how socio-cultural perspectives of mental illness influence treatment, and how mental illness should affect culpability and sentencing in the courtroom. Students read and respond to narratives by the mentally ill, clinical and legal case studies, scientific review articles and congressional testimony, as well as lectures by experts in the field. Students also examine the portrayal of mental illness in film and literature.