Public Mental health: a global perspective


Mental health, which is determined by multiple and interacting social, psychological, and biological factors, is the foundation for well-being and effective functioning for individuals and communities.  Thus, protecting, promoting, and restoring mental health is of immediate concern to public health.

This course aims to provide the knowledge, skills and competencies needed to critically discuss theoretical and empirical aspects of the study of public mental health, and apply them to public health practice to enhance the mental health of diverse populations.

Bringing together methods and perspectives from different disciplines (positive psychology, transcultural psychiatry, and social justice frameworks), the course will cover definitions of mental health and the nature of mental and behavioral disorders, measurement and categorization of mental disorders, and population dynamics in mental health disorders. Further, we will examine a population approach to mental health that includes promoting mental health, preventing mental disorders, and promoting quality of life among people with mental health disorders. We will also explore issues of equal access to mental health services among diverse populations. Using case studies from Denmark and abroad, we will explore a range of public health policies and interventions designed to promote mental health and prevent mental disorders across the lifespan, including digitalization in m-health, and social media strategies. In doing so, we will identify how different research methods can be used to build evidence about the effectiveness of mental health prevention and promotion programs in real-world settings. 

Engelsk titel

Public Mental health: a global perspective


Offered as an elective course for students enrolled at Global Health



On completion of the course, the students will be able to:

  • Define mental health and mental well-being, acknowledging how these are shaped by the social, economic, and cultural context.
  • Describe and list current patterns of distributions, causes, and consequences of mental health disorders.
  • Describe central features of different models of intervention, prevention, and promotion of mental health using a range of conceptual frameworks.    
  • Demonstrate knowledge about different types of tools and methods to design, monitor, and evaluate mental health promotion and prevention programs.



On completion of the course, the students will be able to:

  • Critically analyze the influence of individual, community, and social determinants on mental health and their implications for public health practice.
  • Recognize the linkage between different health and social sectors (i.e. education, justice, environment, housing, and welfare) and communities in promoting mental health.
  • Justify the selection of a particular public health strategy to improve a current mental health challenge in our society and explain its benefits and pitfalls.
  • Justify the selection of research methods in the evaluation of a public mental health intervention.



On completion of the course, the students will be able to:

  • Critically evaluate the impact and implementation of various public health interventions designed to prevent mental health disorders and promote mental health across the life span.
  • Translate current theoretical and empirical knowledge in public mental health to design prevention and promotion strategies or interventions that respond to major mental health challenges.
  • Communicate the importance of mental health prevention and promotion in a public health context.


Cross-disciplinary teaching and problem-oriented learning will enable the students in identify and respond to current public mental health challenges.
Teaching and learning will be research-based and will focus on areas of expertise of the academic staff and invited speakers. The teaching methods will include a combination of formal lectures, problem-related teaching and learning, seminars and case studies. The course will include guest speakers from a range of related disciplines (i.e., public health, psychiatry, psychology, and history). Learning activities will include a mix of online and on-site activities such as group work, writing exercises, student presentations, or classroom debates.

Primarily research papers and chapters from selected textbooks, as well as presentations from lecturers

Løbende feedback i undervisningsforløbet
Feedback ved afsluttende eksamen (ud over karakteren)
Peerfeedback (studerende giver hinanden feedback)
Skriftlig aflevering
Exam: Individual written assignment

The exam will be a final research and intervention proposal project of 10-12 pages. Students will research a mental health topic from a public health perspective and write a paper that proposes and justifies an intervention/​campaign/​project to address the issue, identifies a strategy to evaluate potential impact and implementation, and discusses potential benefits and pitfalls based on current literature.
Krav til indstilling til eksamen

Across the course, students will have to submit two short papers(1-2 page). The discussion papers will not be graded but students will receive feedback via peer grade and the teachers' comments. In addition, before submitting the written assessment, each student will present their project draft to the whole class (max 10 minute oral presentation) to have the opportunity to receive feedback from their peers and the course instructors. This oral presentation will not be graded. The oral presentation and the discussion papers will be an opportunity to prepare for the final assignment and are recommended as a preparation for the exam.

Alle hjælpemidler tilladt
7-trins skala
Ingen ekstern censur
One internal examiner

The 3rd and final exam attempt is offered in the re-examination period: August 2024

Kriterier for bedømmelse
  • Identify a major challenge in public mental health using current evidence and reflect on the complexity of a diverse range of causes and consequences
  • Identify and critically analyse the existing interventions/strategies for that particular challange based on a theoretical frameworks presented in class.
  • Provide a comprehensive rationale for designing one particular public mental health intevention/strategy discussing all the benefits and drawbacks using current scientific evidence and comparing it with other strategies.
  • Clearly integrate theories discussed in class in the design of the intervention.
  • Propose and Justify the methods and frameworks to evaluate the porposed intervention/strategy.
  • Communicate the importance of mental health prevention and promotion in a public health context considering the perspectives of end-users, practitioners, policy makers, and the society at large.
  • Kategori
  • Timer
  • Holdundervisning
  • 40
  • Forberedelse (anslået)
  • 110
  • Eksamen
  • 125
  • Total
  • 275



1 semester

See the schedule in Syllabus
Studienævnet for Folkesundhedsvidenskab og Global Sundhed
Udbydende institut
  • Institut for Folkesundhedsvidenskab
Udbydende fakultet
  • Det Sundhedsvidenskabelige Fakultet
  • Maria Marti Castaner   (14-776b7c736b386d6b7d7e6b786f7c4a7d7f786e38757f386e75)
Gemt den 27-10-2023

Are you BA- or KA-student?

Are you bachelor- or kandidat-student, then find the course in the course catalog for students:

Courseinformation of students