As a collaboration between the Center for Health and Happiness and the Department of Behavioural Science and Health at UCL, the course will rotate between the two institutions every year, with the inaugural year being hosted by UCL. This rotating model will allow the short course to have a more global reach and will assist in building an international community interested in and committed to building the science around linkages between mental well-being and physical health outcomes. Given the current COVID-19 pandemic and related travel restrictions, the course will be offered virtually in 2021.

Course Schedule

The course will consist of four full days on Monday to Thursday and a half-day on Friday. There will be a mix of lectures, panel discussions, practical work, and roundtable mentoring sessions. Lectures will be up to one hour-long (40 minutes lecture, 20-minute discussion). Practical activities will consist of group work or case studies.​​

Each day of the course will have a different thematic focus exploring the linkages between mental well-being and physical health. In addition, guest speakers will provide short topical talks throughout the week. Topics include: social networks, well-being and resilience in the time of COVID-19, nature and well-being, and discussions of new frontiers.

Daily Breakdown

Monday, July 12

Focus: State of the Knowledge on Linkages Between Mental Well-being and Physical Health

Sessions include:

  • Orientation

  • State of the knowledge

  • Defining and measuring well-being

  • Well-being during and after COVID-19


Tuesday, July 13

Focus: Interrelationships of Mental and Physical Health in Social Contexts

Sessions include:

  • Early life perspectives

  • The midlife crisis and the rise of psychological underclass

  • The influence of social and cultural activities on health and well-being

  • Economists’ perspectives

  • Social networks

  • Well-being and cardiovascular health in underrepresented groups


Wednesday, July 14

Focus: Methodological Approaches

Sessions include:

  • Study design: epidemiological and mechanistic studies

  • Causal epidemiology

  • Life expectancy methods

  • Qualitative methods in population-level studies

  • Research from social media data

  • Interventions for improving well-being focused on mindfulness


Thursday, July 15

Focus: Biological and Behavioural Mechanisms

Sessions include:

  • Biological mechanisms

  • Behavioural mechanisms

  • Apps/technology

  • Building design and well-being

  • Nature and well-being

  • Behavioural nudges


Friday, July 16

Focus: Interventions

  • Social and cultural interventions

  • Population-based interventions

  • Psychological wellbeing and preventative care

  • Public policy implications