This anti-oppression course is designed for those of us who are called to be with people who live with mental disorders. We will spend the semester together exploring the complex world of mental “illness” in the US (although we will venture abroad just a little bit). We will companion each other through the weeks – these are emotionally difficult topics, and part of what we will do in this class is support each other as we scrutinize the ways in which our culture treats people who have been given the label of “mentally ill.”
Along the way, we will gain an understanding of the recently released new DSM-5 – and the implications of the new definitions of what behavior is, and isn’t, considered pathological. We will look at intersections of oppression, using race/ethnicity; class; age; gender; institutional power as the anti-oppression framework to examine cultural definitions and treatments of people who live with “mental disorders.” We will take specific issues (e.g. therapies; treatments; pharmaceuticals; criminal justice; mental health policies; children; youth; veterans) to examine the intersections. And we will also look for hope – making sure to find positive examples wherever and whenever possible.