Online course

Defining Mental Health: A Short Introduction

Explore how we define and diagnose mental health problems in society today, and prepare to study mental health further.

  • Duration 2 weeks
  • Weekly study 3 hours
  • Learn Free
  • Extra benefits From $74 Find out more

Understand the complex issues surrounding mental health

The topic of mental health is recognised as one of the challenges facing society today. What is good mental health? What myths surround mental health? How do we define ‘normal’ mental health?

Get answers to these questions and more with this course exploring how we define mental health, designed to prepare you for further study in higher education. You will explore important concepts and definitions related to mental health. You will learn about cultural relativism and the Diagnostic Statistical Manual. This course is a collaboration between Coventry University Scarborough and OCN London.

What topics will you cover?

You will explore the key areas below through case studies, multi-media, collaborative and active learning:

  • What is abnormality?

  • What is a norm?

  • Myth and ideas of mental illness

  • Definitions of the concepts of abnormality

  • Cultural relativism

  • DSM 5 – Diagnostic Statistical Manual – an overview

When would you like to start?

Most FutureLearn courses run multiple times. Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts. Find out more

  • Available now
    This course started 13 May 2019

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Explain the difficulties in defining abnormality and normality
  • Identify the difference in abnormality and normality
  • Explain the four concepts of abnormality
  • Identify cultural variation in defining mental illness

Who is the course for?

This course is for anyone interested in mental health. It’s ideal for people looking to continue to higher education, return to formal learning or those who are considering, or developing, a career in mental health.

Who will you learn with?

Lucy Anacleto

Course tutor on Access to HE Social Sciences at CU Scarborough. Background in mental health, psychology and child development. Teaching experience in FE and HE both in the UK and abroad.

Who developed the course?

Coventry secured a gold rating in the UK government’s 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and is the country’s top modern university in the Guardian University Guide 2018.

Join this course

Start this course for free, upgrade for extra benefits, or buy Unlimited to access this course and hundreds of other short courses for a year.


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  • Access to this course for 4 weeks


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  • Access to this course for as long as it’s on FutureLearn
  • A print and digital Certificate of Achievement once you’re eligible

Unlimited (New!)
$269 for one year

Buy Unlimited and you will get:

  • Access to this course, and hundreds of other FutureLearn short courses and tests for a year
  • A printable digital Certificate of Achievement on all short courses once you’re eligible
  • The freedom to keep access to any course you've achieved a digital Certificate of Achievement on, for as long as the course exists on FutureLearn
  • The flexibility to complete your choice of short courses in your own time within the year
Find out more about upgrades or Unlimited.