Skip to main content
Queen Mary Summer School

The Impact of Trauma on Mental Health

a human hand reaching towards a blue sky


Module Convener: Dr Robert Blakely 

Syllabus: SUM701T_The_Impact_of_Trauma_on_Mental_Health [PDF 125KB]

This course analyses the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on mental health in society. There have been consequences of the pandemic for mental health in the human population. Considering the potential scale of this problem, there is growing need for medicine to integrate knowledge from related subjects, such as psychology, criminology, psychotherapy and neuroscience, to precisely understand the mechanisms of ill health. This summer school brings together the discoveries of science with the life stories behind diagnoses to clarify the mechanisms that drive mental health symptoms. In the book, The Myth of Normal, Dr Gabor Maté makes the claim that society is built on a hidden assumption of generational trauma. Trauma disrupts the connection between mind and body. This psychophysiological problem can be diagnosed by doctors as physical and mental health conditions. While diagnostic labels help individuals understand mental health problems to an extent, the individual remains a member of society and its many challenges. Therefore, this summer school draws upon research taking place at the Wolfson Institute of Population Health to understand resilience in the context of different challenges, such as adolescence, socioeconomic deprivation and war. The module illustrates the mechanisms by which life experiences impact the mind, including the impact of the pandemic on the disconnect between mind and body

Course content is subject to change

Course aims

The module will provide an introduction to the mental health impact of trauma. Students will critically evaluate psychological theories and empirical evidence regarding the:

  • relationship between various life experiences and mental health symptoms.
  • cognitive, affective and physiological mechanisms by which life experiences impact mental health.
  • implications of trauma for the effective treatment of mental health conditions.
  • implications of trauma for social policies, including criminal justice and public health policies.
  • implications of trauma for building resilience in the mind and the community.

Teaching and learning

By studying this course, you will learn to:

Academic content

  • understand the mind in its capacity to respond to threats encountered across the lifespan
  • evaluate the impact of different life experiences on mental health
  • appraise and interpret the role of trauma as a key factor in mechanisms of ill health both mental and physical 

Disciplinary skills

  • display skills in summarising and disseminating results in oral and written communication
  • demonstrate skill in critical appraisal and analysis of the scientific literature and the ability to judge and interpret methods and results
  • integrate information from a variety of sources to construct a coherent presentation on a psychological topic 


  • acquire fundamental knowledge in the impact of trauma on mental health
  • engage and communicate effectively with diverse communities including the lay public and professionals involved in research and clinical practice
  • adapt the principles of psychological research and critical evidence-based discovery to new and unfamiliar contexts 


Additional costs

All reading material will be provided online, so it is not necessary to purchase any books.

For course and housing fees visit our finance webpage

Entry requirements

We welcome Summer School students from around the world. We accept a range of qualifications

How to apply

Have a question? Get in touch - one of the team will be happy to help!

Applications close 24 May 2024

Teaching dates
Session 2: 22 July - 8 August 2024
Course hours
150 hours (of which 48 will be contact hours)
Presentation and in-class test

Apply now

Ask a question

Our location

Back to top