Making Sense of Mental Health - SOCI7250

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Spring Term 5 15 (7.5) Linda Daley checkmark-circle


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 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.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 22
Private study hours: 128
Total study hours: 150


BA (Hons) Social Work (compulsory module)

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
Coursework – essay (2000 words) - 70%*
Coursework – written response to a legal problem (1250 words) – 30%*

*These components are 'Pass compulsory' – students must pass BOTH the individual assessments in order to pass the module overall

Reassessment methods

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 (2017), Key Concepts in Mental Health 4th ed., 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. (2014), A Sociology of Mental Health & Illness 5th ed., 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 (Medway)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
8.1 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
8.2 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
8.3 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
8.4 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.
8.5 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’
8.6 Knowledge of the legal framework that shapes statutory service provision and the role of the Approved Mental Health Practitioner in mental health services

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
9.1 The development of academic skills through library investigation, class discussion and written assignments
9.2 Capacity to gather and evaluate library and web based resources (e-journals and other on-line resources) appropriate to intermediate level study
9.3 The ability to integrate theoretical perspectives and evidence from a range of appropriate sources in order to construct an organised and coherent argument


  1. Credit level 5. Intermediate level module usually taken in Stage 2 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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