Making Sense of Mental Health - SO725

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2018-19
Medway Spring
View Timetable
5 15 (7.5) MS L Taylor







The overall aim of this module is to equip students with the knowledge required for them to respond and intervene appropriately in their work with individuals who are experiencing mental distress and their families. It will enable students to function effectively in contemporary service settings including mental health services.

The module curriculum comprises a basic introduction to the key definitions, the professional roles and tasks, the medical model of mental health and the broad diagnostic categories in psychiatry, as well as a detailed account of social models of mental distress. The module provides students with a critical introduction to key concepts including stigma and labelling theory, and problematic concepts such as ‘care’ and ‘risk’. Using case study material, the module emphasises the importance of understanding diversity in experiences of mental distress, particularly in terms of the social location of individuals (including ‘race’, social class, gender and age) and the impact of disadvantage and discrimination. The module introduces students to different models of care in mental health services and also provides specialist input on mental health law.

Method of assessment

The assessment comprises 100% coursework consisting of the two following elements:

An Assignment: One long essay of not more than 3,500 words will be required, counting for 80% of the overall module assessment. This essay will demonstrate the students achievement of the module learning outcomes in relation to particular knowledge, overall critical understanding of the key issues in this area and generic learning outcomes

An In Class Law Test: comprising a 2 hour test contributing 20% of the overall module assessment. Though relevant to a wider range of learning outcomes, this assignment contributes particularly to the demonstration of the achievement of learning outcomes

Indicative reading

Coppock, V. and Dunn, R (2010) Understanding Social Work Practice in Mental Health, London: Sage

Coppock, V. Hopton, J. (2000) Critical Perspectives in Mental health, London: Routledge

Keating, F., D. Robertson, et al. (2002). Breaking the Circles of Fear: a Review of the Relationship Between Mental Health Services and African and Caribbean Communities, London: The Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health

Moore, D and Jones, K (2012) Social Work and Dementia, Exeter: Learning Matters

Pilgrim, D (2005), Key Concepts in Mental Health, London: Sage

Reynolds, J. Muston, R. Heller, T. Leach, J. McCormick, M. Wallcraft, J. and Walsh, J (2009) Mental Health Still Matters, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Rogers, A. And Pilgrim, D. (2010, 4th Edition), A Sociology of Mental Health & Illness, Maidenhead: Open University Press

Williamson, T (2009) (Ed) Older People’s Mental Health Today: A Handbook, Brighton: OLM Pavilion.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing this module, students will be able to demonstrate:

11.1 Knowledge and critical understanding of how ‘mental health’, ‘mental distress’, and ‘mental illness’ can be defined, drawing on perspectives from sociology, psychology and other disciplines

11.2 Knowledge of medical and social models of mental health/distress, how mental illness/disorder is diagnosed and treated in primary care, mental health and older people’s services, including the major diagnostic categories utilised in psychiatry

11.3 Understanding of the roles of members of the multidisciplinary team in mental health including the social work role and knowledge of models of care including self-directed care and personalised budgets

11.4 Critical understanding of the effects of stigma, injustice, social inequalities and oppressive social relations throughout the life course including: a) their role in contributing to the development of mental health problems and, b) their impact on the lives of people who already have mental health needs and their families

11.5 Critical understanding of the problematic nature of key concepts such as ‘community’, ‘care’ and ‘risk’ in services for people with mental health needs, including recognising the ethical and professional dilemmas associated with decision-making and ‘risk work’

11.6 Knowledge of the legal framework that shapes statutory service provision and the role of the Approved Mental Health Practitioner in mental health services

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