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Get started with mental health dissertation ideas now

Don’t worry if you are having trouble coming up with research ideas for your mental health dissertation, this article is designed to help you. In it, you will find:


Writing a dissertation on mental health can be one of the most satisfying experiences that you can have. The reason for this is that it will help people that are suffering from something which falls under the umbrella of a taboo subject. The main problem at the beginning of your dissertation is which topic to choose as there are so many fascinating mental health dissertation ideas to pick from.

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The best way to get started is to make a list of mental health issues that you are interested in. For instance:

  • Do you find yourself arguing that obesity is due to lack of self-esteem?
  • Have you read a lot on the scarcity mindset?
  • Do you wonder why grief never seems to leave some people after a bereavement?
  • Would you like to see more therapy available for anxiety instead of tranquilisers being prescribed?
  • Have you often considered that there may be a link between the menopause and depression?
  • Are you interested in finding out what causes some people to feel that life is so unbearable that they commit suicide?
  • Have you ever wondered if there is a link between self-harm and childhood neglect?
  • Do you have theory as to what is at the route of addictive gambling?
  • Have you watched someone suffering from insomnia and noticed how it affects their mental health?
  • Have you ever noticed how some people drink alcohol to mask anxiety or depression?

Basically, the above list is a springboard to get you thinking. Many people panic when they have to write a dissertation and this makes them lose sight of what they are really interested in. One of the most important choices when you are writing your dissertation is to choose something that makes you want to find out more about the subject. It is no use picking a topic that doesn’t excite you. This is something that you will be living with for a while so you may as well choose something palatable instead of it tasting like cotton wool to chew.

Is obesity due to lack of self-esteem? The first question that you have to ask yourself is do you have an interest in eating disorders. If you find you do and you want to explore this idea a little further, you may have to narrow your research and confine it to the people that suffer from morbid obesity to make your dissertation more containable. Of course, you may be interested in the link between morbid obesity and mental health but it does not necessarily have to be lack of self-esteem. When you start reading around the subject, you may decide that you find the link between morbid obesity and depression more exciting.

The scarcity mindset – if you are interested in the scarcity mindset as a topic for your dissertation, you will need to narrow it down and also form a hypothesis on the implications of scarcity on mental health issues. People can suffer from a scarcity mindset that involves different issues. For some, it’s that there will never be enough money; for others, it’s food. Some people have issues with time and others it’s relationships. An intriguing concept with scarcity is when it causes individuals to become hoarders. This breaks down relationships, causes job loss and even eviction from the family home. A dissertation question for this could be that “is hoarding developed because of the scarcity mindset?”

Prolonged Grief Disorder – About 10% of people suffer from this after a bereavement. It means that they can’t move on with their lives and can also suffer from loss of identity and lack of belief over their loss. The problem is that institutes such as insurance companies etc. do not recognise that there is a difference between normal grief and prolonged grief disorder. This often makes the situation worse for people that suffer from the disorder; therefore, any extra research done to help distinguish between the two would be particularly useful. A dissertation for this idea could be that “there is a distinct difference between normal grief and prolonged grief disorder.

Anxiety and tranquilisers – Anxiety can affect people so much that they cannot go about their daily lives. When it takes over anxiety causes such terrible physiological symptoms such as nausea and stomach cramps that normal life can be unendurable. The problem is that so often tranquillisers are prescribed to slow the body down or increase the serotonin in the brain. However, that is treating the symptom and not the cause. The situation is problematic because it is cheaper and easier to prescribe tranquillisers than it is to provide methods of teaching people to cope with anxiety. An interesting dissertation idea for this could be “how yoga or mindfulness or laughter workshops teaches subjects to understand coping strategies against anxiety.” Of course, the yoga, mindfulness and laughter workshops are merely suggestions, you could think of other strategies along with your supervisor to use in your own research.

A link between the menopause and depression - Almost every woman goes through the menopause and yet it is such a taboo subject that women feel ashamed to admit that they are suffering from it. Many women suffer from depression and anxiety when going through the menopause but as we have already covered anxiety earlier, we can cover depression here. However, you may prefer to research the link between anxiety and the menopause. To narrow your research down, you may wish to confine it to women that go through an early menopause and have careers or women that go through a late menopause and don’t have careers or vice versa. This would help you do your own original research. For instance, your main research question could be “do women that have an early menopause suffer the strains of depression due to the pressure of balancing a heavy workload with family commitments and aged parents to contend with while suffering from uncomfortable physical changes?”

Suicide – Suicide is one of the most tragic endings for a human being. As this is such a large subject you would have to narrow it down to fit into the time and word constraints of your dissertation. For instance, you may wish to explore the idea that “teenagers are more likely to commit suicide these days due to the pressures from social media to conform to an idealised body image.” If this idea appeals to you, you can read around the subject and personalise your research question to fit your needs.

Self-harm and Childhood Neglect – When an individual cuts their own skin out of pure inner stress, there has to be a deep emotional meaning. Many psychologists believe that our behavioural patterns mostly occur during our formative years. Therefore, it would not be unreasonable to imply that self-harm is linked with childhood neglect. Research into this idea could focus on children that had abusive alcoholic parents or parents that were addicted to drugs. Alternatively, the research could cover children that were sexually abused. It is a field that is full of intriguing possibilities and more importantly, it is research that could hopefully help people of the future.

The route of addictive gambling – Addictive behaviour is always catastrophic both for the person that suffers from the addiction but also for their friends and family too. Gambling often tends to get overlooked because the gambler doesn’t arrive home the worse for wear like those addicted to drugs and alcohol. However, the result of addictive gambling can be just as horrendous as the family lose their home, status and identity all because of addiction. Interesting research questions in this case is “why do individuals believe that they become addicted to gambling?” “Is there a pattern between what addicted gamblers believe about the cause of their addiction?” If you are interested in addiction but not necessarily gambling, you could ask the same questions of alcohol, drugs, sex or shopping.

Insomnia can lead to mental health issues. Lack of sleep can cause us to lose concentration and make mistakes. It makes us irritable and irrational too. The longer this goes on, the subject may start to feel anxiety and depression because life becomes too difficult to cope with. Insomnia tends to be joked about, overlooked or dealt with by prescribed drugs. It is yet another case of the symptoms being fixed as to the cause of the problem. An interesting dissertation idea for this could be to test ways in which lack of sleep could be eradicated by people that were suffering from anxiety or depression because of it. Obviously, because of time and financial restraints, the study would have to be a small one but it would make interesting research if the subjects were given a series of good health steps to follow. For instance, “will subjects that suffer from depression because of insomnia improve their mental health if they cut out all sugar from their diet and exercise for thirty minutes, three times a week?” Obviously, you could tailor this to meet your own research interests.

Drinking alcohol to mask anxiety or depression - This is interesting because there is a distinct difference between the addict and the person that uses alcohol to change their personality temporarily. The mental health question that is most interesting in this case is what moment actually triggers that need for an alcoholic drink to make the subject feel better? Another interesting research question to ask is whether after the initial euphoria of the alcohol does the subject suffer from further depression. Are they aware of the circle that their emotions operate in? If they are aware of this vicious circle, what is it that makes them keep returning to it?

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