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Title: Mental Health in a Cross-Cultural Perspective with a Special Focus on Traumatized Populations
Keywords: resilience
Mental health
Conflict affected setting
Country: Germany
Institution: Germany - Institute of International Health, Berlin
Course coordinator: Hans-Friedemann Kinkel
Date start: 2023-02-27
Date end: 2023-03-10
About duration and dates: 2 weeks
Classification: advanced optional
Mode of delivery: Face to face
Course location: Institute of Tropical Medicine and International Health
Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Campus Virchow-Klinikum
ECTS credit points: 3.5 ECTS credits
SIT: 105 hours SIT (54 hrs contact time plus 6 hours for reflective essay plus 30 hours self-directed learning during the first two weeks plus 15 hrs for writing the final assignment).
Language: English
On successful completion of the module the student will be able to:
● Identify and analyse current conceptualization and critiques of the global mental health movement and psychosocial wellbeing approaches with special attention to the implications of these approaches for different stakeholders
● Critically appraise the evidence for global mental health approaches and psychosocial interventions (with a special focus on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and demonstrate awareness of existing challenges
● Draw on theoretical debates and conceptual frameworks in analysing the role of culture and context in shaping the experience of mental health and wellbeing
● Critically evaluate current approaches in conflict-affected settings to the prevention and treatment of sexual and gender-based violence
● Differentiate and assess approaches to addressing stigma directed against people with mental illness in post-emergency settings
● Put practical skills in Psychological First Aid into practice and critically reflect on the experience.
● Know about staff care, and self-care practices, and be able to apply adaptive coping strategies, especially during deployments in crisis zones
Assessment Procedures:
● An individual reflective essay on Psychological First Aid, ca. 1,500 words, formative feedback (unmarked), to be submitted at the end of week two. Students can expect a short feedback on the reflective essay via Email within a week after submission.
● The final assignment will be an individual essay on a Global Mental Health topic (case study), ca. 2,500 words, pass mark 60%.To be submitted one week after the end of the face-to-face teaching. The essay results will be communicated to the student via email. Students who fail the final assignment will be offered one resubmission, which should take place not later than one month after receipt of the fail mark. A second resubmission is allowed but may be linked to conditions set by the Committee of Admissions and Degrees, such as attending the course again in the following year (no additional fees).
● Global Mental Health Movement (GMHM): its history, aims and approaches. This includes critically analysing some of the theoretical assumptions underlying the GMHM and its relevance to conflict-affected settings
● Policy, guidelines and implementation of global mental health (e.g. mhGAP). The implications of GMH practice in relation to available evidence and perspectives from stakeholders will be critically analysed.
● Conceptualising post-traumatic stress disorders and psychosocial wellbeing: theories from psychology, sociology and development studies will be used to investigate how these approaches have been applied in relation to improving wellbeing in resource-poor and humanitarian settings
● Emergency contexts and humanitarian crises: an analysis of approaches, practice and guidelines in the field as well as challenges faced by agencies seeking to implement these.
● Approaches in conflict-affected settings to the prevention and treatment of sexual and gender-based violence
● Strategies for addressing stigma directed against people with mental illnesses in post-emergency settings
● Introduction of debriefing method, case studies and exercises
● Psychological First Aid: practical skills and the theory underpinning the approach, including evaluation research conducted in various contexts.
● Staff Care: mental health of development/humanitarian workers, including theory of coping, state of the art in organizational staff care provision, and proven approaches to self-care.
TThere will be a mixture of sessions (~60%), case studies and role-plays (~15%), viewing of films related to mental health & trauma with discussion (~10%) and group work with discussion of results (~15%). For each session, after a short PowerPoint based lecture, there will be interactive discussions, sharing of professional experiences and self-reflection.
Knowledge of unstable populations is helpful but not a precondition.
English proficiency: English TOEFL test 550 or 213 computer-based or 79/80 internet-based or IELTS band 6.0. tropEd students need to provide proof of registration as tropEd student at their home institution only.
Max. 30 students (unlimited tropEd students)
Places are allocated on a “first-come, first-served” basis.
Deadline for application: 8 weeks before module starts.
Deadline for payment: 4 weeks before module start.
We shall confirm the module 6 weeks before module start latest, subject to a sufficient number of applications (minimum 10).
Late applications will be considered as long as places are available.
962,50 € for tropEd MScIH students and alumni
1203,13 € for others
Major changes since initial accreditation: Change of course coordinator: With effect of 2018, Dr Hans-Friedemann Kinkel will act as coordinator of the course; Dr Carola Eyber will advise on the learning objectives, course contents and learning methods and will replace Dr Rothkegel as main lecturer. Dr Rothkegel has replaced Dr Schröder as coordinator of the module in 2009.
In the first three years of this module, there was a strong focus on the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. After reviewing students’ feedback, the coordinator switched the focus of the module to a wider range of mental health problems and interventions. The cross-cultural aspects of mental health were added to the course since 2008. From 2012, traumatisation by natural disasters has been added as a topic
Student evaluation:
The evaluations since 2018 of this module were always excellent. Students were especially pleased with the group exercises and practical real life examples. Students suggested expanding the course to learn about the practice of Psychological First Aid and Staff Care.
Lessons learned:
The first module coordinator (Dr Schröder) used many PTSD cases as examples and focused on a certain personal debriefing method. Although students appreciated these cases and experiences, they felt that a wider range of mental health topics and more contextual approach to trauma need to be included in the module. Therefore, Dr Rothkegel paid more attention to trauma as a process and influence of social support. More time for different approaches in dealing with mental health issues was allocated. Dr Eyber’s focus is more on global trends in Mental Health Movements and she presents a critical perspective on challenges and debates in this field. Theoretical approaches from the disciplines of psychology, psychiatry and medical anthropology have also been included, and varied case studies from the field are used in the course. As students wished for instruments they can apply in practice, Psychological First Aid and Staff Care was added to the course in 2023.
tropEd accreditation:
Accredited in Berlin, January 2005 and re-accredited in November 2011, February 2017 and in March 2018. This accreditation is valid until March 2023. Re-accredited in January 2019, in Lisbon and in September 2022, in Hamburg. This accreditation is valid until September 2027.
Remarks: Course has been successfully run for the first time in March 2004.
Approved for 1.5 ECTS credit points in 2004, 2.0 ECTS in 2005 (with additional post-course work and report) and 3,5 ECTS in 2022 (with additional Psychological First Aids and Staff Care).
Email Address:
Date Of Record Creation: 2011-12-09 00:26:39 (W3C-DTF)
Date Of Record Release: 2011-12-09 06:37:09 (W3C-DTF)
Date Record Checked: 2018-06-27 (W3C-DTF)
Date Last Modified: 2023-01-11 13:21:53 (W3C-DTF)

Fifteen years of the tropEd Masters in International Health programme: what has it delivered? Results of an alumni survey of masters students in international health

L. Gerstel1, P. A. C. Zwanikken1, A. Hoffman2, C. Diederichs3, M. Borchert3 and B. Peterhans2

1 Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2 Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
3 Institute of Tropical Medicine and International Health, Charite – Universit€atsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany