Approach to Mental Health
Final Paper Length: 2000 words (8 Pages Double Spaced) ASSIGNMENT Choose one the of the following options: 1. Buddhist Approach to Mental Health: Based on the general themes explored in the course, design a formal treatment or intervention for a specific mental illness. You may use materials and research from outside the course. Consider ethics, implementability, and sustainability on the part of the patient. Outline your understanding of the issue, proposed steps, their sources/influence within Buddhist literature, and hoped for outcome. 2. Buddhist Art Critique: Analyze a piece of Buddhist art from any tradition or point in history – music, painting, sculpture, film, literature etc. – and what you see as its relation to contemporary mental health dialogues. Does it have anything new to offer? Might the piece or its method of production have a place in art therapy? 3. Healing a Divide: Design an engagement plan with a person or group who you feel hold discriminatory views toward you. One of the most difficult tasks someone can face is trying to build a bridge with someone who might hate them. Using themes explored in the course, do you feel it possible to build a detailed, implementable, practical plan to do this? Remember our early exploration of the shadow: the needs and feelings of the people being discriminated against need to be addressed, rather than repressed in the name of a false, performative compassion. Yet at the same time, a person who feels attacked is also unlikely to be able to hear the words of someone criticizing them. How do you resolve this social paradox? 4. Ecological Engagement: Design a community engagement plan based around the themes discussed in the course with regard to an ecological issue of your choosing. What do you feel a Buddhist psychology might have to offer in practically and implementably addressing issues such as climate change, animal rights advocacy or endangered species protection, or helping individuals transition realistically and compassionately out of professions or economies with negative environmental impact? 5. Food Study: Study a traditionally Buddhist culture and their diet. Outside of language, there is perhaps no other element of human society more central to culture than food. What do you feel the diet of the population you have chosen says about a Buddhist influence in their daily lives? Use specific sources or practices active in the culture itself to cite that influence. Can you reconstruct a viable diet using this as a template within Southern Ontario (consider availability of ingredients, nutritional needs, climate, and typical food preferences)? 6. Digital Community Engagement: While the current situation makes community engagement challenging, find a documentable opportunity to volunteer within the community online. For instance, people isolated in retirement homes may benefit from someone to chat with. There are text crisis lines which need volunteers. There are apps for the blind which allow them to video call a volunteer to receive help navigating their surroundings. Record your experiences, and any approaches or ideas from the course you may have deployed in pursuing them. Those taking part in this option will only need to submit a 2-3 page synopsis of their experience.
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