Portrayed by mass media, there is an exaggerated link between mental illness and violence. Mental illness is often considered as an adversary that should be dealt with by medical professionals. Challenging this monopolized medical discourse on mental illness, this course aims to expand the students’ view to appreciate how mental illness has been psychologically influenced, socially constructed and policed, as well as culturally shaped. Coupling biochemistry’s knowledge of mental illness with self-reflections, students are expected to develop a critical and comprehensive understanding of mental illness and mental health. With the use of experiential exercises, case studies, and film viewing, students will be further encouraged to scrutinize mental health issues in their daily lives. As there is a growing number of individuals challenged by mental illnesses both locally and internationally, students will have high chance of encountering an individual with mental illnesses in their social circles, workplaces or even family in the future. The development of a comprehensive and critical view towards mental illnesses will definitely prepare them to face this future challenge.

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