How Do I Choose the Best Mental Health Courses?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

There is no single way to choose the best mental health courses, and students may be influenced by a variety of factors including graduation or continuing education unit (CEU) requirements, interest, and availability. Depending on their goals, there are many reasons that students may need or want to take a particular class, and this often determines their choice. Many different mental health courses are offered, and some selections may be better than others for certain individuals.

Numerous online mental health courses are now available.
Numerous online mental health courses are now available.

A number of types of mental health courses might be available. Classes in psychopathology teach about psychiatric diseases, how to identify them, and what measures might be taken to treat them. Students can also take classes in psychotherapeutic interventions, and these might be introductory or they could teach one therapeutic method, like cognitive behavioral therapy. Another area of study is psychopharmacology, which evaluates the medications that are used to treat mental illnesses.

Others kinds of mental health courses may focus on a specific disease or life issue. Classes on mood disorders or substance abuse are relatively common, for instance. Alternately, people may study the legal, historical or ethical approaches to treating the mentally ill.

Classes at the beginning of studies in mental health present overviews of topics like psychology. As people increase their knowledge, they tend to move from general to specific studies. Depending on their present level of education or engagement with career, students will generally want to start with introductions to topics before moving into more advanced analytical courses.

Usually, the most specific classes are offered to people who are already in the mental health profession and are fulfilling requirements for continuing education units (CEUs). They may cover important changes in law, offer training in therapeutic methods, or present opportunities for case review, and there are many other options. People fulfilling CEUs may take classes in a number of locations and have much greater flexibility to earn units locally, at a distance, or online.

In contrast, most students earning a degree will need to take their mental health courses at the university they attend. This narrows the choice a little. Students may be able to take classes in different departments — for example psychology, public health or social work — to better pursue their interests. They’re also often welcome to participate in classes that offer CEUs, though these don’t usually count for credit.

Another type of student is the lifelong learner, who is not interested in pursuing a degree or earning CEUs. There are now numerous online mental health courses that are offered for free. Alternately, students may be able to audit classes at nearby colleges. The online classes don’t grant credits or education units, but may be taught by some of the most esteemed mental health educators in the field. For these students, such courses might be a good choice, as they are likely to provide a comprehensive examination of mental health issues.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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