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University of Alaska Fairbanks

Mental Health Theory and Practice

University of Alaska Fairbanks via edX


Mental health exists for all of us, and mental health conditions, challenges and/or disorders are very common in the United States. Mental health is not just mental illness, it is our wellness. Most of us in our lifetimes will experience something that causes a challenge for our mental health - a loss of someone, birth of a child, loss of a job, witnessing a traumatic event, etc. It is important to normalize discussions and options for care around mental health and well-being, and that experiencing a challenge is normal and okay.

This course utilizes a strengths-based and socioecological framework and a recovery model with the aim of helping those with mental health challenges to move beyond survival and encourage them to thrive with the premise that (1) It is possible to recover from mental health challenges, and (2) The most effective recovery is client-directed. This approach is based on four dimensions of recovery: health, home, purpose, and community.

Learners will explore the unique opportunities and difficulties faced by social workers and prepare them to provide case management and assessment services to people with mental health disorders. In this course learners will explore mental health diagnosis, assessment tools, and what it means to use a wholistic approach when assessing and working with diverse people in diverse contexts. Self-care and community-care are highlighted as essential components and practices to cultivate, as a buffer and prevention for burnout and compassion fatigue, as we do good work together in the area of mental health.


  • Week 1: Biopsychosocial Model
  • Week 2: The Recovery Model
  • Week 3: Introduction to Case Management
  • Week 4: Case Management Roles and Techniques
  • Week 5: Working With Supports, and Other Considerations
  • Week 6: Taking Care of Your Mental Health and Wellness

Taught by

Christina Ireton


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