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The Sociology of Mental Illness: Teaching College Students About Our Experiences

Joyce Johnson, Ph.D., Sonoma State University, and Ron Bassman, Ph.D., The Community Consortium, Albany, NY.

The presenters, a sociologist and a psychologist, will describe their experiences teaching sociology and community mental health courses while sharing their perspectives as ex-patients. This workshop will focus on how "mental illness" is traditionally taught to students, and how it can be changed to awaken and generate more creative understandings. Reactions of undergraduate and graduate students to the course material and to the instructors will be shared and discussed. Together we'll formulate how we might expand the college curriculum to reflect views of "mental illness" that include people's first-hand experiences.