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The University of Southampton

GERO6023 Mental Health and Ageing (DL)

Module Overview

The module will provide a critical assessment of evidence relevant to mental health and ageing, with a concentration on dementia, one of the most common and serious disorders in later life. The module will take an international perspective, providing an understanding of prevalence, treatment and policy on mental illness in later life in both the developed and developing world. Students will gain an understanding of the key challenges and debates in diagnosis, treatment and policy on mental illness in later life; be able to distinguish between 'normal' and 'abnormal' ageing from a psychological and cognitive perspective; and apply theoretical approaches, e.g. from Gerontology and Psychology, to issues affecting older people with mental illnesses.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatments of mental illness in later life.
  • Critically evaluate international evidence on mental illness in later life.
  • Use written communication skills developed through the preparation of assessed coursework
  • Use critical skills in the preparation of assessed coursework


The module will include online lectures covering: normal and abnormal memory changes in later life; life course determinants of mental illness in later life; prevalence of mental illness in later life around the world; the different types of dementia; how dementia alters brain physiology; treatment of behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia; theory of personhood; psychological and pharmacological therapies; long-term care in the community and residential setting; informal care and carer burden; policy challenges and how these are responded to around the world; loneliness in later life; and recent research priorities.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The module is taught by means of lectures. The lectures of the module focus on mental health and ill health, with a particular focus on dementia. Examples from around the world, including developing countries, will be used where relevant. Learning activities include lectures, tasks and problem-solving related to the lectures and independent study. Students are expected to carry out some reading in advance of each session.

Independent Study176
Total study time200

Resources & Reading list

Woods, R. & Clare, L. (eds) (2008). Handbook of the Clinical Psychology of Ageing. 

Stuart Hamilton, I. (2012). The Psychology of Ageing. 

Johnson, M.L. et al. (eds) (2005). Cambridge Handbook of Age and Ageing. 

Segal, D.L., Qualls, S.H. and Smyer, M.A. (2018). Aging and Mental Health. 

Krishnamoorthy, E.S., Prince, M.J., & Cummings, J.L. (2010). Dementia: A Global Approach. 

Innes, A., Kelly, F., & McCabe, L. (2012). Key Issues in Evolving Dementia Care: International Theory based Policy and Practice. 

Cook, A. (2008). Dementia and Well-Being: Possibilities and Challenges. Policy and Practice in Health and Social Care Series.. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (2500 words) 50%
Evidence Review  (2500 words) 50%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (2500 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Accommodation and Travel

Where students wish to attend a scientific conference during their studies, they are liable for any travel cost associated. If students incur any travel costs associated with conducting their dissertation research, they are expected to bear the cost of this themselves. All students are invited to attend a 4-day online workshop focusing on Ageing in the 21st Century and on preparation for the MSc Dissertation.

Conference expenses

Where students wish to attend a scientific conference during their studies, they are liable for any accommodation cost associated (as well as any conference registration fees).


Participating in the Distance Learning programme requires the student to already have access to a PC/ laptop. Students may also wish to purchase their own PC/laptop or tablet in order to access Blackboard. Distance Learning students are also expected to have access to the internet, and to bear the cost of this themselves.

Printing and Photocopying Costs

For all GERO modules, coursework (such as essays; projects; dissertations) is submitted on line. All learning information, including the MSc Student Handbook, Module Outlines and lecture handouts, is available online through Blackboard. If students wish to print out copies of the lecture slides or electronic readings, they are expected to bear the cost of this themselves.


You will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationery items (e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc.). Any specialist stationery items will be specified under the Additional Costs tab of the relevant module profile.


All readings in all modules are available electronically through e-journals, as digitised text in the Online Course Collection or as e-books, however students may prefer to buy their own copies of specific textbooks. These can be purchased from any source. Students on the modules GERO6014 and GERO6015 receive one key textbook via post. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module. Software Licenses: Licenses relating to software used in the programme (eg. SPSS, NVivo) are purchased by the University, and students can download them from the iSolutions website using their username and password

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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