Does mental illness exist around the world? Does it present itself differently in other cultures? At the outset we will develop a foundation in specific clinical areas: Mood Disorder, Schizophrenia and Substance Abuse. We will examine the subjective experience of mental illness by reading autobiographical accounts and watching case vignettes. Besides traditional medical systems, we will focus on the family and naturalistic systems that allow stricken individuals to function as members of a community. We will learn about attitudes toward mental illness around the world and the devastating effects of stigma. The course will utilize the places we visit to illustrate issues that are unique to the cultures of these countries. Students will actively participate in small group projects and present their work.
Field ClassCountry: Peru
Participants will spend a working day with clinicians involved in the care of seriously mentally ill patients at a psychiatric hospital in Lima, Peru. They will hear case presentations and if confidentiality allows it meet with patients themselves. They will have the opportunity to interview clinicians about their work and the unique kinds of issues seen in Peru. Additionally we hope to meet with family members of patients to help us understand the burden of the disease, the stigma experienced and finally the importance of advocacy in protecting the human rights of the mentally ill. Students will write up their expectations before the lab and then carefully document everything that they observed in the hospital setting. They will also document their own subjective responses to participation in this work