IDIS 199 The Science of Mental Health, Well-being, and Resiliency
Dr. Anne Duffy and Simone Cunningham
IDIS 199, The Science of Mental Health, Well-Being, & Resiliency, is a course designed for undergraduate students across all programs. This course will impart relevant evidence across disciplines including psychology, sociology, medicine, kinesiology, and applied neuroscience to understand the science behind mental health, well-being, and resiliency in emergent adults.
In IDIS 199, students will learn about the emergent adult brain, genetic and psychosocial contributors to mental health, exposures common to university life which can detract from well-being, as well as actionable habits and healthy choices that can help individuals succeed both academically and personally. Topics to be covered include an overview of conceptual approaches to defining and measuring mental health, mental health problems and mental illness, the impact of sleep habits, distress tolerance and self-regulation on well-being, and an introduction to effective coping such as participation in arts and culture, exercise and recreation, and healthy lifestyle choices. A brief overview of effective clinical approaches to emerging mental health problems and available resources will also be covered.
After completing IDIS 199, students will be able to:
- Consolidate evidence across disciplines to describe the determinants of mental health, well-being, and resiliency in emergent adults, as well as factors associated with a successful transition to university and the realization of personal goals.
- Describe common stressors and risks encountered by emergent adults and the implications of mental health, well-being, and resiliency on success.
- Explain the early signs and symptoms of common mental health concerns, preventative strategies, available resources, and potential barriers to accessing supports in emergent adult populations.
- Reflect on the information covered in this course and how the information can be used to implement healthy choices that support well-being and resilience in students’ own lives.
Assessment 1 - Participation in Research Surveys (2%)
Students will be asked to complete two research surveys throughout the semester – one at course entry and one at course exit. At the end of each survey, students will choose whether they wish to release their survey responses for research purposes or not. Completion of both the entry and exit surveys will result in 100% on the assignment, regardless of whether students choose to release their information for research or not. For those who opt to release their survey information, there will be a third, optional survey that students can complete 8 weeks after course completion, if they wish. This will be part of an HSREB-approved study.
Assessment 2 - Discussion Boards (16%)
Students will twice participate in an online discussion board in groups of 4-6 in which they are asked to make extensions from course content related to either student vignettes or to other interactive learning opportunities (e.g., a virtual museum tour) presented in the module. Students must provide an initial post and respond to at least two posts by other students and this discussion will be moderated and graded by TA’s. Example topics might include: the relationship between stress, sleep, following a healthy routine and academic performance, the importance of recreation or engaging in culture for well-being, potential barriers to identifying mental health problems and/or accessing support in the university context and common risk exposures and/or stressors experienced by university students and how best to cope and mitigate the effects. The primary post and follow up comments will be graded separately, with the primary post being graded more strictly for content and quality.
Assessment 3 - Poster (20%)
Students will design a poster using PowerPoint or similar word-processing software on the topic of healthy lifestyle choices and the relationship with university student well-being and academic success. Students will have flexibility in choosing the specific focus within this topic for the poster and stylistic execution. Examples of topics could include but are not limited to: neurobiological, psychological and cognitive effects of cannabis use on the emergent adult brain, effects of sleep deprivation on well-being and learning, neurobiological and psychological underpinnings of the relationship between cardiovascular exercise and/or mindfulness and well-being, summary of evidence supporting how art and culture support mental health and well-being, discuss self-regulation and why it is important to a successful transition to university life.
Students will prepare the first draft of their poster and submit it for peer review (3) using online peer review software and must provide comments on three posters. Students will have the opportunity to incorporate the peer feedback and submit the final version for grading by the teaching team. The poster is worth 20% of the final grade - 15% of the grade consists of the quality of the poster, 5% is allotted to the quality of feedback they provided to others.
Assessment 4 - Personal Reflection (12%)
Towards the end of the term, students will be asked to complete a reflection on how they could implement positive lifestyle, psychological and behavioural changes based on their own choices or on hypothetical interactive student vignettes presented throughout the course. Grading will be completed by TA’s using a rubric that will focus on assessing the student’s engagement with and application of the content.
Assessment 5 - Midterm Exam (25%)
Students are required to write an online, proctored midterm exam. The exam will consist of multiple-choice and short answer questions (50/50) testing their knowledge of the modules covered in the first half of the course. Questions will assess students’ knowledge of fundamental course content, and ask students to apply content to situational scenarios.
Assessment 6 - Final Exam (25%)
Students are required to write an online, proctored final exam. The exam will consist of multiple-choice and short answer questions (50/50) testing their knowledge of the modules covered in the second half of the course. Questions will assess students’ knowledge of fundamental course content, and ask students to apply content to situational scenarios.