psy 1113 01 general psychology mental health empathy anxiety disorders

Individual Project: Mental Health Empathy

In this assignment, psychological disorders will become living and humanized as you develop empathy for real people who live with these conditions on a daily basis.


1. Choose one category of psychological disorders from the following options:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Mood disorders
  • Schizophrenia spectrum disorders

2. I recommend that you select one specific disorder from your chosen category. You will engage in observing others’ electronic comments for one week. You should monitor the experiences and stories posted by people who identify with having a disorder in your chosen diagnostic category. You should monitor the narratives posted on public Internet sites, such as discussion forums, written and video blogs, YouTube channels, advocacy sites, and social media pages. Do not volunteer your names/email addresses or post comments as you engage in this observatory process.

3. Write a paper in APA format (an informal APA template is available on Moodle). Use full sentences and good paragraph structure. In your paper (3 full pages of content recommended, not including the title and reference pages), reflect upon the process and the insights gained from the process:


  • Describe the category of disorders you decided to monitor. Why did you decide to focus on this category? Briefly describe this category of disorders (cite the textbook or DSM-5 when paraphrasing information).


  • Describe what the process of observation was like for you. What was it like to search for and read about others’ experiences online? What was most difficult about the process? What was most rewarding about the process?


  • Describe what you learned about the human experiences of people with the disorders you were monitoring. What surprised you the most about what you read?
  • How does the information you learned while observing correspond to what you have learned in this class about this category of psychological disorders? In what ways did these human stories reflect what you have learned? If applicable, in what ways did these human stories differ with what you thought you knew about psychological disorders before? Use specific information from the textbook or other scholarly sources, and cite your sources.
  • As you reflect upon what you have learned, consider addressing some of the following common discoveries. Do not limit yourself to the following list because you may discover important themes that are not included here. Observers often gain new insights about:
    • what people with diagnoses think and feel on the inside
    • the difficulties that arise with medication side effects
    • the similarity/dissimilarity between abnormal and normal functioning
    • the diversity of experiences among people with the same diagnosis
    • the co-occurring nature of many disorders
    • problems with the mental health care delivery system
    • the effects of stigma on people with mental health diagnoses
    • the problems that arise in living everyday life with a psychological disorder
    • the everyday social/relational impact of psychological disorders
  • Wrap up with a summary of the major themes or personal lessons that you will take with you from this process. For example, how has this process shaped how you think about, feel toward, or behave around others who struggle with mental health concerns?


  • Your paper will be graded for grammar, spelling, and clarity. Please proofread your work.
  • APA format should be followed, including in-text citations and a reference list. Be sure to cite the textbook and any other sources you paraphrase or quote in your paper. Use scholarly sources, such as the textbook and sources found through the SNU library catalogue. Do NOT cite “Simply Psychology” or other non-scholarly websites.

Individual Project Rubric




Very Effective











  1. Student responds to the prompt thoroughly and thoughtfully.
  1. Student demonstrates curiosity and insightful thinking about the subject matter.
  1. Student understands key psychological concepts.
  1. Student effectively applies theoretical concepts to real-world situations and examples.
  1. Student makes accurate conclusions, based on psychological theory and research.
  1. Student uses appropriate examples and uses evidence to support statements.
  1. Student conveys ideas with clarity, including appropriate spelling and grammar.
  1. Student uses appropriate organization and APA formatting.
  1. Student demonstrates ethical decision-making.
  1. Student effectively utilizes psychological methods to promote personal understanding and growth.