Social Work-Adults & Mental Health Issues - SOCI8970

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2023 to 2024
Year 7 15 (7.5) Alisoun Milne checkmark-circle


The overall aim of this module is to equip students with the advanced knowledge and understanding required for them to function effectively as social workers in mental health and adult social care settings. This might include working in a multidisciplinary mental health team, with older people, people with a physical or learning disability, or with people from all of these groups. The module considers models of understanding mental health/distress, disability and old age, in particular the contrasting perspectives of the individual/medical model and social models. The module will ensure that all students are able to recognise and understand key definitions and diagnostic categories applied in contemporary service settings, at the same time as critically questioning the nature and validity of such definitions.

The module will enable students to acquire critical understanding of the impact of injustice, social inequalities and oppressive social relations on the lives of adult service users and carers, including: a) the role of these factors in contributing to the development of mental health and other problems and, b) their impact on the lives of people who already have mental health needs and/or disabilities and their families. The module will enable them to critically analyse and evaluate key concepts such as 'care', 'need' and 'risk' in adult services, and demonstrate the knowledge necessary for them to assess and make decisions in conjunction with service users, including when conflict and disagreements arise. It will highlight the evidence relating to the abuse of adult service users and the safeguarding strategies used to prevent it.

The module will provide specialist input on the legal and professional frameworks that shape or prescribe social work practice in mental health services and in adult social care, including the use of online learning materials during private study time where appropriate.

The module enables students to critically analyse the ideas that underpin personalisation and person-centred practice and how these relate in a practical sense to processes of self-directed support and individual budgets as ways of delivering services.

Through group work and seminar discussions, students will demonstrate their capacity for effective and appropriate communication with others. They will have the opportunity to critically reflect on their personal attitudes towards disability, difference, and old age.

The assessed work for this module will encourage students to gather and evaluate library and web-based resources appropriate for intermediate level degree study, and integrate a range of theoretical perspectives and evidence from research in order to construct a coherent argument in writing.


Contact hours

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


Social Work MA (compulsory stage 2 module)

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
Essay (3,000 words) – 70%*
Legal Problem Question (1,500) – 30% *

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

Reassessment methods

Indicative reading

Bigby, C and Frawley, P (2009) Social Work Practice and Intellectual Disability Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan
Bland, R., Renouf, N., and Tullgreen, A. (2015) Social Work Practice in Mental Health, An Introduction (2nd Edition). London: Allen and Unwin.
Burton, J., Toscano, T., and Zonouzi, M. (2012) Personalisation for social workers: Opportunities and challenges for frontline practice. Berkshire: McGraw-Hill
Cree, V. and Myers, S (2008) Social Work: Making a Difference Bristol, BASW/Policy Press
Davies, M (2012) Social work with adults: Policy, law, theory, research and practice. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
Fook, J. (2012) Social work: A critical approach to practice, London: Sage.

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 Demonstrate a critical and advanced understanding of different models of mental health and disability including individual/medical and social models; awareness of ageism and how 'old age' is socially constructed;
8.2 Define 'mental health/illness', 'learning disability', 'physical disability' and forms of chronic illness in terms of key diagnostic and descriptive categories/labels in policy and practice, recognising complex issues with the nature and validity of such definitions and their action in shaping specialist service responses;
8.3 Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the differential impact of stigma, poverty, injustice, discrimination, social inequalities and oppressive social relations on adult service users and carers, including the impact on the nature of services in a diverse society and the central importance of anti-discriminatory practice in this context;
8.4 Demonstrate a critical awareness of personal attitudes to mental distress, disability and old age, their pivotal importance in ensuring the promotion of dignity, choice and independence for adults receiving services, and a recognition that attitudes can act as barriers as do environmental and other factors;
8.5 Describe and analyse the main types, risk indicators and patterns of abuse affecting adult service users and carers and plan appropriate strategies for safeguarding those who may be vulnerable;
8.6 Demonstrate an advanced knowledge of models and methods of assessment in a multidisciplinary context, including the complex nature of professional judgement, processes of risk assessment and decision-making, with critical understanding of the contested nature of ‘risk’, ‘care’ and ‘need’ in social work with adults;
8.7 Demonstrate an advanced knowledge of the main legal and professional responsibilities of a qualified social worker, including the key legislative systems and guidance they are expected to use, and critical awareness of the changing role of social work in mental health and adult services.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
9.1 Organise complex information, to think critically and to consider alternative perspectives in analysing and solving problems;
9.2 Manage own learning and deploy time management skills independently


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  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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