COURSE CODE & TITLE COCR 1033: Mind the Gap: Towards Psychological Health & Wellness
LEVEL: One (1)
PREREQUISITES: There are no prerequisites required for this course. Students from all degree backgrounds are welcome to enrol.



This course provides participants with practical training in basic helping skills and the assessment of certain risky behaviours. It also explores a range of common psychological health and wellness issues and familiarises participants with support services both on- and off-campus. The course provides the pre-requisite training for students to pursue fieldwork in Semester II with the Peer Counselling Association towards graduation as a UWI Peer Counsellor. The teaching component of the course comprises face-to-face lectures and workshops. Participants’ learning will be assessed by online assessment, group presentation, and individual journaling.



The Counselling and Psychological Service (CAPS) at the UWI St. Augustine Campus, is committed to the provision of professional student-centred health and wellness services across the Campus community. We recognise that only a significant minority of students will need or seek professional services and so our mission demands outreach and promotion of wellness. An essential part of this is developing peer-to-peer support. The UWI’s core values include engendering in students a commitment to personal growth as well as stimulating self-awareness and nurturing a keen sense of individual and social responsibility. This course serves to raises awareness of psychological health and wellness among participants and consequently promotes greater self-care in terms of personal, emotional, and psychological wellbeing. At a wider community level, the course promotes support among peers both on and off campus through the development of key helping skills and aims to contribute to reducing the stigma associated with mental health issues.


The content is divided into core components and options. Students must complete all five (5) core topics and select at least five (5) optional topics.


Core topics to be covered in this course:

  • Aspects of basic counselling:
    • key aspects of a therapeutic relationship
    • basic helping skills including active listening, paraphrasing, reflection, open- and closed-ended questioning, and problem-solving.
  • Biopsychosocial assessment, using the cognitive behavioural model to understand emotional distress
  • Assessment of risk: suicidal ideation, deliberate self-harm
  • Mood disorders: depression, bipolar disorder, post traumatic stress disorder
  • Management of stress


Optional topics include:

  • Self awareness: attitudes, prejudices, styles of interaction, emotional tolerance
  • Domestic violence
  • Substance use and abuse
  • Understanding Disability
  • Educative theatre
  • Risk management
  • Sexual assault



This course aims:

  • To raise awareness of psychological health and wellness among the student body as well as to reduce stigma associated with mental illness
  • To promote self-awareness and self-care for individual participants, towards better psychological and emotional wellbeing
  • To develop participants’ helping skills and ability to maintain appropriate boundaries in helping relationships
  • To prepare participants who wish to pursue the Peer Counselling programme
  • To raise the profile of student support services available on campus
  • To promote interaction and peer support among students on campus


General Objectives

The objectives of this course are to:

  • Engage students in a discussion on attitudes towards mental health and how mental illnesses are classified and understood
  • Familiarise participants with a range of common psychological problems and explore factors associated with self harm and suicidal ideation
  • Raise awareness of student support services available both on and off campus
  • Explore the characteristics and limitations of an effective helping relationship
  • Provide participants with the opportunity to develop and practice skills basic helping skills, biopsychosocial assessment and risk assessment


Learning Outcomes

At the end of this course, students will be able to

  1. Describe how major mental disorders are classified and appreciate the impact of stigma
  2. Recognise the key symptoms of common mood disorders
  3. Discuss the varying factors that contribute to mental illness, self-harm and suicidal ideation
  4. Identify key student support services on campus
  5. Define the key aspects of a therapeutic relationship
  6. Demonstrate basic helping skills including active listening, paraphrasing, reflection, open- and closed-ended questioning, and problem-solving
  7. Apply knowledge of wellness and risk to assess the severity of problems and the relative impact on an individual’s functioning and well-being
  8. Distinguish varying levels of risk and determine the value of referral to support services


Course Assessment

Assessment will be based course-work only from the components below.




Final Grade %








Attendance to five (5) core sessions (8 hours) and an additional five (5) optional workshops (approximately

5 hours)





Three multiple choice assessment available online through My E-learning, covering the material in the core sessions


Final Presentation




In-class presentation by






Journaling exercise, to explore and reflect on the learning experience




  • Presentation: In class presentation assigned to student groups.
  • Journal: Journal exercise.



  • Formal feedback will be provided via feedback questionnaires that will be completed at the end of each lecture/workshop for specific feedback on the material covered and methods of presentation.
  • The journaling exercise will provide feedback of a more personal and exploratory nature regarding the learning experience in general.
  • Formal evaluation of the entire course will be accomplished via a UWI Course Evaluation questionnaire administered anonymously and confidentially at the end of the semester.
  • All feedback will be considered on an on-going basis and corrective action or adjustments made or discussed with students promptly or incorporated the following year.
  • Feedback on individual workshops will help tailor material and delivery.



Name of course coordinator:

Dr. Sarah Chin Yuen Kee

Office address and phone:

Counselling and Psychological Service (CAPS), ext 82491

Email address:

Office hours:    

Wednesdays and Fridays, 1:00pm – 4:30pm

Preferred method of contact:


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