Course Description

There have been recent strides to support the idea that people with different types of brains can bring new opportunities and new talents to the workforce, not just new challenges. People with a mental health history, as well as people who suffer from learning disabilities, are becoming a valued part of a diverse workforce. However, throughout history people with a mental health record have been marginalized, often suffering under arbitrary or cruel care, or left to be homeless or on the wrong side of the law.

This course will teach you what you need to know about mental health from the patient's perspective as it pertains to the workplace and the psychiatric institution, and what you need to know about barriers for people with learning disabilities. This includes examining the workplace, the institution, the politics and political discourse, interactions with law enforcement, and the media’s role in perpetuating stigma.

Be part of eye-opening dialogues where you will learn how to appreciate the differences neurodiversity and mental health history bring to workplaces and communities. You will learn from each other and, most importantly, how to gain the trust and respect of someone with a mental health history or a learning disability, especially in a workplace setting.

This course includes four one-hour synchronous sessions scheduled weekly from 7:00-8:00 PM Atlantic Time. In addition to the four hours of online sessions, learners can expect to spend ten hours in reading and assignment preparation over the 4-week course.

* the non-pathological range of variance in individual brain function and behavioural traits.


Course Outline

Module 1: The Workplace (Introductions)
Module 2: Politics and Political Discourse (Assignment 1 Explained)
Module 3: Institutionalization and the Law (Assignment 1 Due, Assignment 2 Explained)
Module 4: The Media (Assignment 2 due)

What You Will Learn

  • Basic sensitivity training when dealing with people of different types of brain in the workforce.
  • Appropriate terminology and discourse around mental health and learning disabilities.
  • The history of mental health and learning disabilities.
  • How to critically analyze depictions of mental health and learning disabilities in pop culture.
  • The politics and culture of disability activism and neurodiversity activism.


If you have any questions about this course, please contact Sherry Carmont (sherry.carmont@dal.ca), Director of the Health and Wellness portfolio.


Jay Heisler is an instructor at Dalhousie University and NSCAD University. He is a CNBC-published freelance journalist who has worked in the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Africa. He has worked in Washington DC several times, in counterterrorism, finance and mental health policy. His PhD studies are on pause at Louisiana State University.

Recommended For

Anyone in a working environment or community that includes neurodiversity and/or mental health issues would expand their academic or pragmatic understanding of workplace diversity.  Participants in educational, medical or law enforcement careers should consider this course a key learning opportunity for their day-to-day work. Anyone with a mental health history can learn about the activist communities that serve their interests. Finally, anyone with an interest in learning more about neurodiversity and mental health will benefit from this course.
Thank you for your interest in this course. Unfortunately, the course you have selected is currently not open for enrolment. Please complete a Course Inquiry so that we may promptly notify you when enrolment opens.
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