Course builds mental health knowledge online

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Increasing awareness and understanding about mental health issues will build “mental wealth”, according to the developers of a new, free online course.

Mental wealth: know it and grow it – a so-called Massive Open Online Course (or MOOC) – has been designed by Professor Eimear Muir-Cochrane and Mrs Deb O’Kane from Flinders University’s School of Nursing and Midwifery, and is thought to be the first of its kind in Australia.

Professor Muir-Cochrane said the concept of mental wealth is about building positive wellbeing in individuals while raising awareness of mental health issues in general.

The self-directed, open course aims to bring together a wide range of people in a shared conversation.

“The whole idea is that it’s peers learning from peers locally and globally, and we hope people from all over Australia and around the world will interact with each other,” Professor Muir-Cochrane said.

The course comprises five modules that can be undertaken sequentially or individually, and each module provides a ‘launchpad’ of informative material. Topics include: What is normal?, Busting myths about stigma, Mapping community health concerns, Madness and the media, and Generating mental health.

Participants post material in response to each module’s “challenges”, which are read and reviewed by other participants, who can then nominate the posters for a Mental Wealth Activist Badge.

“It’s a very contemporary way of engaging people,” Professor Muir-Cochrane said.

The course is open to everyone over the age of 16 who would like to share their thoughts and perceptions and engage in a positive way about mental health.

While the course is specifically targeted at people who know little about mental health but would like to learn more, people experienced in the relevant issues are also encouraged to join in to contribute their expertise and resources.

Professor Muir Cochrane said an important spin-off from the course is that participants are likely to make contacts that persist outside the course.

“They can set up connections and stay in touch with each other beyond the life of the course through Facebook pages, Twitter and blogs, which we assist them in setting up during the course.”

The course commences on Monday, October 28. To register and participate, interested people can go the web address:

Flinders University will shortly launch two other MOOCs. For further information refer to MOOCs @ Flinders.


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