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Population Health Perspectives on Mental Health and Addictions

Course Number
5100 (Social and Behavioural Health Science)
Course Instructor(s)
Mikaela Gabriel

Course Description

This course will draw on the expertise of researchers affiliated with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and the University of Toronto, and in some instance special guests from other institutions, to present an overview of issues related to mental health and addictions. Using a population health framework that situates mental health/mental illness and addictions in a complex web of social determinants and societal response, it will examine the epidemiology of these disorders, the philosophies and practices of treatment and prevention services, and the design of service delivery systems, including recent attention to the reform of such systems in Ontario.

Course Objectives


  1. To promote understanding of the population health framework and its application to issues in mental health and addictions
  2. To provide an introduction to the epidemiology of mental illness and addictions
  3. To examine mental health and addictions challenges facing specific populations and responses to those challenges from population health and service delivery perspectives.
  4. To introduce students to the research interests and expertise of faculty affiliated with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

Learning Outcomes: By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Define population health
  2. Identify epidemiologic data sources for assessing mental health and addiction issues in the population
  3. Identify strengths and weaknesses of epidemiological surveys of mental health and addiction issues in the population
  4. Describe the roots of modern psychiatric diagnosis
  5. Identify and classify categorical and dimensional approaches to psychiatric diagnosis
  6. Identify and describe social determinants of mental health and substance use issues
  7. Critically analyze population health policy addressing mental health and addiction

Methods of Assessment

Topic Paper 20%
Presentation of Final Paper 20%
Final Paper 40%
Discussion Forum Participation 10%
Participation 10%

General Requirements

  • None