PJ181: Poverty and Mental Health

Title: Poverty and Mental Health

Date: 20 June - 6 July

Contact Day(s) and Time(s): Monday & Wednesday, 6 times in total. Click here to view World Clock Meeting Planner

Credit: 2

Course Description

Does poverty only mean a shortage of food and material possessions? How does it associate with the mental health of different populations, such as females, working class, and sexual minority? Is the widespread gig economy, labelled with freedom, autonomy, and self-determination, a cure or a toxicant for poverty? And, what can technologies do to combat poverty and protect the mental health of the population living in poverty?

Drawing on cases in different countries, this course will lead students to explore the answers to these interesting and significant questions. Instructors will introduce some baseline frameworks, utilizing insights from psychology, sociology, and social policy. Based on these frameworks, students with different academic backgrounds are supposed to form several seminar topics that relate with Sustainable Development Goals (i.e., No.1, No.2, No.3, and No.10) set by the United Nations. After taking the course, students are expected to get a fuller picture of poverty problems in the world as well as how they are dealt with by governments.

This course encourages meaningful intra- and inter-group interactions. Students of different academic perspectives form study groups, and each study group will explore solutions to one specific poverty problem. 

Course Component(s)

Mode of Teaching : Synchronous

Type : Lecture, tutorial, and seminar

Learning Outcomes 

  1. Intercultural communication competence enhancement;
  2. Basic facts of poverty and how it is dealt with by governments in the contemporary world;
  3. The associations between poverty and mental health among different populations, such as females, working class;
  4. Classic analysis perspectives of the problem from Sociology, Psychology, and Social Policy;
  5. A rare opportunity to use your own academic perspective to form a solution to one specific poverty problem. 


Dr. Fan Yang is an associate professor in the School of International & Public Affairs, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. His research interests are mainly on social welfare policies and practices in China. In the past five years, with the support from the National Science Foundation of China and Shanghai Municipal Government, he conducted fieldwork in urban Shanghai on its social assistance policies, in rural areas of Central China and border areas of Western China on the development of left-behind children, and in urban and rural areas of Central and Eastern China on the long-term care system. These research experiences have transformed into more than 40 academic and media publications. 


  1. Attendance: 30%;
  2. Group presentation: 60%;
  3. Final program summary: 10%


Fan Yang: fan_yang86@sjtu.edu.cn

Xinyi Hu: huxinyi@sjtu.edu.cn