Mental Health and Aging


This module examines theory and practice in mental health disorders and explores cognitive decline in aging.


The aim of this module is to provide the student with an awareness of how psychological knowledge contributes to models used by mental health professionals in assessment and treatment of problem behaviour. The students will also be exposed to the cognitive changes and disorders that effect mental ability in the elderly.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  Demonstrate an ability to evaluate the role of clinical psychology in a modern mental health service by assessing it's contribution to the promotion of health and alleviation of distress.

2.  Demonstrate a critical understanding of the complexity of clinical assessment, formulation, aetiology and treatment processes.

3.  Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of scientific rigor and measurement in clinical psychology and address the legal and ethical issues in diagnosis and hospital admission.

4.  Demonstrate an appreciation of the specific challenges of diagnosis and treatment of the elderly with mental health problems.

5.  Demonstrate an appreciation of comorbidity in elderly patients.

Indicative Content

1 Introduction

Introduction to the training and practice of mental health and abnormal psychology. Historical and conceptual background to mental health and abnormal psychology.

2 Abnormal Psychological Disorders

The module will focus on the main abnormal psychological disorders, for example, anxiety disorders; affective disorders; Schizophrenia and the somatoform disorders.

3 Mental Health Specialisms

The module will focus on mental health specialisms, for example, the use of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Mindfulness-Based-Stress- Reduction (MBSR), suicidal behaviour and psychiatric rehabilitation.

4 Mental Health and Typical Aging

What constitutes "mental health" as we age? Status, stigma, identity and power in old age.

5 Mental Health Phenomena in Dementia and Parkinsons Disease

Symptoms, diagnosis, intervention and quality of life. The problem of managing psychiatric symptoms such as psychosis in these conditions.

6 Mental Health Phenomena and Abnormal Ageing

Pathology in older age - symptoms, diagnosis and the problems of managing psychiatric symptoms

7 Mental Health and Rehabilitation in Ageing

The problem of managing psychosis in conditions and the interventions available.

8 Mental Health Phenomena of bereavement

The process of death, normal and complex grief, end of life decisions, euthanasia.

Statement on Teaching, Learning and Assessment

The seminars facilitate students engagement with particular mental health and aging related topics whilst placing an emphasis on student appreciation and understanding of the link between scientific study and issues in the "real word". These are designed to enhance self-directed learning, creativity, reflection and taking responsibility for learning. The students should be able to demonstrate independent learning, critical thinking and confidence in their awareness of new, provisional,and significant shifts in knowledge. In addition, students should be able to differentiate concepts, theories and models and show a critical appreciation of paradigms applied in both the aetiology and treatment of mental health. Students should be able to apply what they have learned about mental health to the specific case of older people. The course work assesses the students' achievement in combining the theoretical knowledge (intellectual), the "real"-world" practises (professionalism) and experiential reflections (personal) towards becoming an active citizen. This allows the student to demonstrate a sustained and well-researched argument on a mental health or a mental health and ageing topic in a case study report.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Total 200
Lecture 24
Tutorial/Seminar 6
Supervised Practical Activity 0
Unsupervised Practical Activity 0
Assessment 50
Independent 120

Guidance notes

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2019/10 , and may be subject to change for future years.