An ambitious postgraduate degree designed to address health, mental health and wellbeing challenges facing communities across the UK has been launched by Wrexham Glyndwr University.
The new MSc Health, Mental Health and Wellbeing programme will challenge its students to consider how they can help individuals, groups, workplaces and nations to lead happier and healthier lives.
It has been created to both meet the growing demand for a closer understanding of health and wellbeing issues across sectors – and to be accessible to students following a range of career paths, thanks to an innovative blended learning approach which means students can choose how they study.
Senior Lecturer in Public Health and Wellbeing at Wrexham Glyndwr University, Dr Sharon Wheeler, said: “We want this programme to be accessible to a wide audience, including individuals working in health settings, schools, local authorities and more.
“An advanced understanding of health, mental health and wellbeing is increasingly necessary in many workplaces
“To offer real flexibility to those studying the programme, we have developed an innovative blended-learning strategy, whereby students can self-select to learn online, in the classroom, or a combination of the two.”
Part of the thinking behind the development of the course is that its students will work to examine areas of health, mental health and wellbeing which may currently be being missed by practitioners and policy makers – and to help create ways in which they can be tackled.
While the course was in development for some time before the emergence of coronavirus this spring, Sharon also believes the reaction to recent events has underlined the importance of understanding how public and mental health and wellbeing can be affected by both events and lifestyles.
“The global pandemic we are experiencing has undoubtedly changed thinking towards public health, mental health and wellbeing,” she added.
“It has highlighted how human beings are extremely complex – and understanding how people think and act is crucial if we are to effectively protect and improve the health and wellbeing of the nation.
“There are many lenses and tools for understanding why people live their lives in the ways they do spanning a number of disciplinary areas.
“As part of the course we have a lifestyles and health behaviours module, which will provide students with knowledge and understanding of a range theories and models relevant for understanding contemporary lifestyles and health behaviours, drawing particularly from the disciplines of psychology and sociology.
“It will also enable students to critically consider the application of these theories and models to different populations in different settings
“Our students will consider the public health, mental health and wellbeing challenges of both today and tomorrow.
“The ultimate aim of the programme is to enable students to contribute to the development of effective and sustainable ways of protecting, improving and promoting health, mental health and wellbeing, whether that be at individual, community, national or international levels.
“It will also prepare students for a wide range of careers, some of which might not even exist yet.”
A range of current roles which students may find themselves applying their studies to include health promotion and ill-health prevention, community health development, the assessment and surveillance of the population’s health and wellbeing; identifying and planning for public health emergencies as well as the identification of health challenges and hazards in key settings.
It will also be of great value to those looking at health-related research or education, the development of public/mental health policy or the commissioning, delivery and evaluation of health services, and for link workers, care navigator, social prescribers and advocates – and many other profession.
For those who are considering whether or not to undertake a health and well-being course – whether at undergraduate level or on the new postgraduate course – there are a range of shorter courses which offer them the chance to get a taste of studying at Glyndwr.
Sharon added: “The Health and Wellbeing Team at WGU run a range of short courses and free learning events throughout the year.
“These attract individuals from health settings, schools and local authorities, as well as those who simply have an interest in health and wellbeing or who are considering a career change.
“The feedback from individuals who participate is that our courses and learning events are always thought provoking as well as informative.
“They also enable discussions that help advance knowledge and understanding of topics and link together areas that are often considered in isolation.
“A number of individuals who participate in our short courses and learning events go on to undertake our degree programmes, having been inspired to do so and developed a keen interested in learning more.”
To find out more about these short courses and free learning events, visit https://www.glyndwr.ac.uk/en/Undergraduatecourses/SubjectDays/ and to find out more about the course here: https://www.glyndwr.ac.uk/en/Postgraduatecourses/healthmentalhealthandwellbeing/