Mental Health - SO532

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2018-19 2019-20
Canterbury Autumn
View Timetable
6 15 (7.5) PROF RVE Forrester-Jones







This module introduces students to the sociological approach to understanding mental health. It begins by outlining historical definitions of mental health and how policy and practice have changed over time from incarceration in large institutions to present-day community care. Sociological perspectives of mental illness (for example, the sociology of suicide, labelling and social causations of mental ill-health) are considered alongside psychiatric and psychological approaches to treating people with mental illnesses. The module then looks at social inequalities in relation to opportunities to recover, including gender and race, as well as where sufferers are within the life-course (including young people and older people with dementia).Mental health and the criminal justice system as well as religion/spirituality and faith are also explored. Please note, as this is not a clinical module material covered will not include in-depth investigations of specific diagnoses of mental illnesses.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

2 hour workshop (includes lectures, discussion groups and invited speakers) plus 1 hour voluntary 'drop-in clinic' (provides an opportunity for students to ask questions about the module and assessment) per student per week'.

Method of assessment

100% coursework (one 4000 word essay)

Preliminary reading

Pilgrim D (2009) 2nd Ed Key Concepts in Mental Health, London, Sage
Rogers A & Pilgrim D (2010) A Sociology of Mental Health and Illness. Open University Press
Reynolds J et al (2009) Mental Health Still Matters. Macmillan

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

Familiarity with sociological aspects of mental health and mental health policy.
Critical evaluation of psychiatric and non-psychiatric perspectives on mental health.
Assessment of social inequalities in mental health
Skill in evaluating contrasting legal, community, and user approaches to mental health and illness.
Appreciation of the economics and politics of mental health

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