The Beautiful Mind: Global Perceptions of Mental Health

VU Amsterdam Summer School | Online Course

Note: Unfortunately the course has been cancelled for summer 2021.  

How young is too young to diagnose a child with bipolar disorder? What is the solution to alcohol addiction in South Korea? What is normal – and does “normal” even exist? To explore such questions, this course invites you “down the rabbit hole” of mental health as a global issue. Offering the broadest possible perspective on the topic, we discuss the most prevalent and impactful disorders in different regions and so reveal the complexity of the psychiatric aspects of public health worldwide.

Session 22022 (cancelled for summer 2021)
Course levelAdvanced Bachelor/Master, open to PhD staff and professionals
Co-ordinating lecturers                
Dr. Elena Syurina
Other lecturersPim Scholte and Samrad Ghane (Equator Foundation), Barbara Regeer and Nadine Blignaut (VU Amsterdam), guests from the War Trauma Foundation and Doctors of the World, plus research presentations by Global Health PhD students via Trans Global Health
Forms of tuitionLectures, workshops, seminars
Forms of assessmentGroup assignment
Credits3 ECTS
Contact hours45 hours
Tuition fee€650-€950, depending on your situation. Read more about our fees.
Social programme
How to apply
Applications for summer 2022 will open in December
Students and professionals with a background in public health, mental health or a similar field, plus professionals looking to expand their understanding of these issues at the global level. If you have doubts about your eligibility for the course, please let us know. Our courses are multi-disciplinary and therefore are open to students with a wide variety of backgrounds.

We begin with a general introduction to mental health, following this up with in-depth lectures and workshops on current diagnostic methods in the field. You then use this newly acquired knowledge to discuss treatment options at both individual and community level. You also dive into the realm of policy-making and regulation, on a national as well as an international scale. Particular attention is paid to developing your critical thinking ability in this area by discussing the ambiguity of mental health. Further lectures and workshops focus upon related issues, such as the ethics of mental health, cultural influences and stigma. Working in groups, you end the course by investigating a specific question in global mental health, analysing and reporting on this topic through medical and cross-cultural psychiatric lenses.

At the end of this course, you:

  • Acquire basic knowledge about the mental health organization, from diagnosis to rehabilitation.
  • Understand the factors which influence mental health status and service provision, in both the national and the international arena.
  • Are able to take an interdisciplinary approach to mental health issues so that you better understand how they relate to other health-related problems.
  • Gain practical experience in designing a community-based mental health intervention.
  • Are better able to critically assess and debate the complexities and ambiguities of mental health problems.
  • Meet and work with peers from different countries and backgrounds.