MPG Consulting Presents:
Culturally and Racially Attuned CEU Credits
For Individuals and Organizations

Course Title: Mental Illness: Signs and Symptoms

Name and Qualifications of the Presenter: Adwoa Akhu, Ph.D., is a New York State licensed clinical psychologist who has worked in various mental health and higher education institutions as direct practitioner, supervisor, and program/clinic director. She is the author of several books on domestic violence and stress management. Dr. Akhu maintains a private practice of psychotherapy and clinical supervision for social work and psychology students and professionals.

Throughout her career Dr. Akhu has also developed and taught professional development courses and workshops for social workers, psychologists, educators and others in the areas of adolescent development, adoption and foster care, domestic violence, suicide prevention, mental illness, and stress management.

Course Description

This course will be a total of 8 contact hours to be offered in 2 hours sessions over 4 weeks. The course will help participants understand the continuum of mental health, from typical to atypical. This course will increase the participant’s ability to recognize major mental illness categories and their associated symptoms. Mood Disorders, Anxiety Disorders, Somatoform Disorders, Dissociative Disorders, Delusional Disorders, Personality Disorders, and Behavioral Disorders will be covered. Emphasis will be placed on disorders and symptoms participants are most likely to encounter. Participants will learn how to appropriately intervene with families in which mental illness is an issue.

Participants will be expected to actively engage in exercises, to discuss reading assignments, and share personal experiences, insights and challenges relating to work with clients.

Location: First Steps to Recovery, 312 W 47th St. Ground Floor, New York, NY 10036
Dates and Times: Wed. 11/4/15 9-11 a.m., Fri. 11/6/15 9-11 a.m., Wed. 11/11/15 9-11 a.m., Fri. 11/13/15 9-11 a.m.

Course Outline

Topic AreaMood Disorders, Anxiety Disorders, Eating Disorders, and Behavioral Disorders, Treatment, Barriers to treatment, cultural issues
Student Self-Assessment FormPre Assessment of course content
Mental health fact or fiction quiz
  • Participants will understand the continuum concept of mental health that ranges from typical (healthy) to atypical (illness).
  • Participants will increase their ability to recognize major mental illness categories and their associated symptoms
  • Participants will gain a deeper understand of a variety of symptoms associated with mental illness
  • Participants will understand the basics of treatment options for mental illness
  • Participants will understand how the stigma of mental illness poses a barrier to receiving assistance
  • Participants will learn how to appropriately intervene with families in which mental illness is an issue.
  • Participants will be able to discuss the continuum of mental health concept providing at least two examples illustrating how the severity of a symptom indicates it’s placement on the continuum
  • Participants will be able to describe at least one characteristic that is distinctive of each of the five categories of disorders covered in this class
  • Participants will be able to name at least three symptoms indicative of each of the five categories of disorders cover in this class.
  • Participants will be able to list at least six questions they can ask a person or family to assess the severity of mental health issues
  • Participants will be able to name at least two ways to treat mental illness
  • Participants will be able to identify at least one strength and one weakness of at least two treatment methods
  • Participants will be able to identify at least two negatives associated with mental illness
  • Participants will be able to discuss at least two ways in which such stigma pose barriers to receiving treatment
  • Participants will be able to discus at least two ways issues of race, class, culture, and gender are related to mental health, mental illness, and treatment
Teaching Points
  • Mental health is a continuum ranging from typical (healthy) to atypical (illness)
    • The severity of the symptom indicates where it falls on the continue, i.e. occasional sadness is typical while thoughts of suicide indicate illness
  • Brief introductory exercise and detailed symptom description of five categories of disorders and three additional disorders
    • Mood Disorders include:
      • Depression, Bipolar Disorder
    • Anxiety Disorders
      • PTSD, Phobias, Obsessive-compulsive, Panic
    • Eating Disorders
      • Anorexia
      • Bulimia
    • Delusional Disorders
      • Schizophrenia
    • Personality Disorders
      • Antisocial, borderline, narcissistic
    • Additional Disorders
      • ADHD, Oppositional –Defiant, Autism
  • Treatment of Mental Illness
    • Biomedical therapy
      • The difference between care providers
    • Psychotherapy
      • Talk, group, family, behavioral
  • Exploration of the stigma of mental illness especially in communities of color
  • Exploration of how the stigma of mental illness poses as a barrier to treatment especially in community of color
  • The relationship of race, class, gender and culture to the above disorders.
  • Disorders such as depression present differently due to cultural norms
  • Cultural norms also effect the placement of symptoms on the continuum of mental health.
Student Self-Assessment FormPost Assessment & Feedback

Suggested Reading

Mood Disorders –
The Noonday Demon : An Atlas of Depression (2002) by Andrew Solomon
You Me and Apollo: Hope Beyond Bipolar Disorder (2008) by J. D. Stottlemire

Anxiety Disorders –
What Doesn’t Kill Us: My Battle with Anxiety (2011) by L. A. Nicholson

Eating Disorders –
This Mean Disease: Growing Up in the Shadow of My Mother’s Anorexia Nervosa (2005) by Daniel Becker
Diary of an Exercise Addict (2010) by Peach Friedman
Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia (1999) by Marya Hornbacher

Behavioral Disorders –
ADHD and Me: What I Learned from Lighting Fires at the Dinner Table (2008) by Blake E. S. Taylor and Lara Honos-Webb

Psychosis –
Ben Behind His Voices: One Family’s Journey from the Chaos of Schizophrenia to Hope (2011) by Randye Kaye

Personality Disorders –
The Buddha and the Borderline: My Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder through Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Buddhism, and Online Dating (2010) by Kiera Van Gelder
Web of Lies – My Life with a Narcissist (2010) by Sarah Tate
Getting It Through My Thick Skull: Why I Stayed, What I Learned, and What Millions of People Involved with Sociopaths Need to Know (2009) by Mary Jo Buttafuoco and Julie McCarron

Suggested Websites:
Mental Illness information:
Eating Disorders Awareness and Prevention Web site:
Personality disorders:

Suggested Watching


Major Depression Disorders –
Detachment (2011), Veronika Decides to Die (2009)

Bipolar disorder –
Observe and Report (2009), The Informant! (2009), Shine (1996)

Anxiety Disorders –
Ordinary People (1980), Copycat (2001)

Eating Disorders –
Girl, Interrupted (1999), The Karen Carpenter Story (1989)

Obsessive-compulsive disorder –
K-PAX (2001), Matchstick Men (2003)

Schizophrenia –
Me, Myself & Irene (2000), A Beautiful Mind (2001), Identity (2003), The Fisher King (1991), Conspiracy Theory (1997)

Borderline Personality disorder –
Fatal Attraction (1987)

Antisocial personality disorder –
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011), The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Narcissistic personality disorder –
Wall Street (1987)


Mood Disorders – Stephen Fry , actor, on Manic Depression

Anxiety Disorders – My Anxiety and Panic Attack Story

Eating Disorders – Saving Juliet Part 1 of 2

Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Autism – My Experience with Autism (Temple Grandin)

Psychosis – Girl With Schizophrenia Loses Touch With Reality Part 1

Narcissistic Personality Disorder – narcissists – full documentary

Borderline Personality Disorder – “Back From the Edge” – Borderline Personality Disorder

To sign up for this course, click here.

Mary Pender Greene, LCSW-R, CGP
President & CEO

Midtown Manhattan Location