Course ObjectiveKnowledge and insight
• Student will have knowledge and insight on the most important
theoretical insights and concepts in the field of preventing mental
• Students will be up to date with knowledge on relevant prevention
• Students will be familiar with different mental illness prevention
techniques used in clinical practice.
• Students will have know-how on how to plan for and evaluate the
effects of mental illness prevention studies.
• Students will be able to mention and describe the most important
theoretical and scientific concepts about the prevention of mental
• Students will be able to use the acquired theoretical and scientific
knowledge to evaluate existing literature on prevention programs.
• Students will be able to use existing literature on a self-chosen
problem to discuss its current state of affairs and construct concrete
recommendations as to how preventive mental healthcare can be improved
on this topic.
• Students will be aware of the societal relevance of prevention
programs and their positions within their own discipline of study.
• Students will grasp the interdisciplinary character of prevention
• Students will understand the most important obstacles in implementing
mental illness prevention programs.
• Students will understand the relevance of research and funding in this
Course ContentFor Health Science students this course fits in the program of the
specialization Prevention and Public Health. Within this specialization
you are trained to become a health promotor who is able to work in a
theory- & evidence-based way and is able to link research, practice and
The courses within this specialization are structured according to the
six steps of Intervention Mapping. These steps are: 1) Needs assessment,
2) Preparing matrices of change objectives, 3) Selecting theory-informed
intervention methods and practical applications, 4) Producing program
components and materials, 5) Planning program adoption, implementation,
and sustainability and 6) Planning for evaluation.
For Psychology students this fits in the program of the Clinical
Psychology specialization. Within this specialization you are trained to
become a psychologist specializing in either the research, policy or
practice of mental health care. Most courses in this specialization can
be freely chosen and are all specific subtopics in mental healthcare,
usually aimed at specific disorders or types of treatment.
The course Prevention of Mental Health Problems will pay special
attention to step 3 through 6 of Intervention Mapping with a focus on
Theoretical backgrounds of the prevention of mental health problems
will be discussed, as well as currently used methods in preventive
mental health care. Guest lecturers who work in the field of preventive
mental health care will discuss current programs aimed at preventing
several psychological symptoms and disorders. Also, the
most important results of research conducted in the field of preventive
mental health care will be presented. There will also be a focus on the
implementation and evaluation of mental illness prevention programs.
In the practicals students will tackle a self-chosen problem within the
field of preventive mental healthcare, writing a report on it and
presenting their most important recommendations.
Because this is an interdisciplinary course and students from several
Master tracks are welcome to follow this course, we provide quick ‘crash
courses’ in the topics of prevention and psychopathology with additional
literature to get students up to speed on the discipline they are not
yet familiar with.
All lectures and work group meetings will be taught in English. All
examination will be done in English as well.
Teaching MethodsThis course is rewarded with 6 ECTs and runs in January 2017.
Prevention of Mental Health Problems is a full-time course, this means
that 42 hours a week are necessary to pursuit the goals of this course.
Regular attendance during the weeks is mandatory.
Teaching activities include: lectures, work group meetings, consultation
hours, feedback on assignments, answers to questions via the Discussion
forum on BB.
Method of AssessmentAn individual written examination that accounts for 60% of the final
of this course.
A written assignment conducted in couples that accounts for 30% of the
final grade of this course.
A presentation on the written assignment conducted in couples, but
graded individually, that accounts for 10% of the final grade of this
To pass this course you have to have at least a 5.5 for the
individual exam, the presentation and the assignment.
Entry RequirementsAt the start of this course, we expect you to have mastered knowledge,
insight, attitude and skills at a level which is comparable to the final
qualifications stated by the Bachelor of either Health Sciences,
Psychology or Artificial Intelligence at the VU.
LiteratureThe following book is required for students who follow the
specialization Prevention and Public Health:
Planning Health Promotion Programs: An Intervention Mapping Approach,
3rd Edition, by L. Kay Bartholomew, Guy S. Parcel, Gerjo Kok, Nell H.
Gottlieb, Maria E. Fernandez. February 2011, Hardcover (E-book also
Chapters which are applicable to this course will be announced through
For Clinical Psychology and Artificial Intelligence students we will try
to find a solution to only make the relevant chapters available.
Other literature will be provided through BB or as a reader. Some
examples of literature which are relevant for this course are:
• Beekman, A.T.F., Smit, F., Stek, M.L., Reynolds, C.F., & Cuijpers,
(2010). Preventing depression in high-risk groups. Current Opinion
in Psychiatry, 23(1), 8–11. doi: 10.1097/YCO.0b013e328333e17f
• Holmes E.A., James E.L., Kilford E.J., & Deeprose, C. (2012). Key
Steps in Developing a Cognitive Vaccine against Traumatic Flashbacks:
Visuospatial Tetris versus Verbal Pub Quiz. PLoS ONE 7(11). doi:
• Koning, I.M., Vollebergh, W.A.M., Smit, F., Verdurmen, J.E.E., van den
Eijnden, R.J.J.M., ter Bogt, T.F. M. et al. (2009). Preventing heavy
alcohol use in adolescents (PAS): cluster randomized trial of a parent
intervention offered separately and simultaneously. Addiction 104, 1669-
Target AudienceHealth Science, Psychology and AI students.
Additional InformationRegistration for this course via VU-net.
Recommended background knowledge• Basic knowledge of psychopathology (symptoms of the most common
• Basic knowledge on what prevention programs are and how they are
|Language of Tuition||English|
|Faculty||Faculty of Science|
|Course Coordinator||dr. A.M. Kleiboer|
|Examiner||dr. A.M. Kleiboer|
dr. A.M. Kleiboer
You need to register for this course yourself
Last-minute registration is available for this course.
|Teaching Methods||Computer lab, Lecture, Study Group|
This course is also available as: