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Mental health and community

What causes mental distress and what can be done about it? How is health and social care support, which is increasingly delivered at local level, affected by lay and professional perceptions of mental health and illness? This module examines how aspects of the external environment – in particular social, environmental, economic and political factors – shape and constrain our understandings and experiences of mental health and distress. It explores the theories and concepts that underpin and challenge mental health practice and service provision and looks at the impact of the frequently competing perspectives that characterise the world of mental health.

Modules count towards OU qualifications

OU qualifications are modular in structure; the credits from this undergraduate module could count towards a certificate of higher education, diploma of higher education, foundation degree or honours degree.

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Module

Module code
K240
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
60
Study level
OU SCQF FHEQ
2 9 5
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements
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What you will study

This module comprises four study blocks:
 
Block 1 introduces the notion that there are very different views about what constitutes mental health distress and considers the role of the external environment – in particular social, environmental, economic and political factors – in shaping these views. It examines different ways of understanding mental distress, stressing the point that in order to understand current policies and practice it is necessary to look back at the social and historical context that informed them. You will also explore the similarities and differences between physical and learning disability and mental health, and the relationship between the mind, the body and the brain.

Block 2 looks at the way in which families, in their many forms, may experience and/or contribute to mental health and distress. The impact of ‘place’ and community, including social networks, on mental wellbeing, and the different types of ‘everyday’ support (for example that provided by friends, relatives and neighbours), are explored. This block concludes by evaluating our understandings of mental health in relation to the needs of children and young people.

Block 3 considers the influence of a range of societal factors that impact on mental health and distress. The impact of labelling and stigma on those who have been diagnosed as mentally ill, the role of advocacy in the context of mental health, the ways in which cultural factors interact with mental health and distress, and different ways of thinking about gender and sexuality are discussed. This block ends by looking at the complex relationship between mental distress, criminal behaviour and imprisonment.
 
Block 4 explores a range of economic and political factors that affect mental wellbeing. It raises challenging questions about the relationship between work and mental health, the role of mental health legislation, and the different approaches to mental health promotion. The evidence for and against the use of drugs to treat mental distress is explored, alongside the controversial role of the pharmaceutical industry. This block concludes with an opportunity to consolidate and revise what you’ve learnt throughout the module.

You will learn

This module provides you with insight into the contemporary context in which mental health care takes place and will help you to understand the issues faced by service users and service providers within this context. Specifically, the module encourages you to:
  • develop knowledge and understanding of how the experience of mental health problems affects and is affected by living within a community
  • recognise the value and limitations of accounts of personal experience of mental distress and of different responses to it
  • explore the impact of service users’ experiences on mental health policy and practice.

Outside the UK

Although the primary focus of this module is mental health policy and service provision in the UK, internationally focused case studies and other material are included to encourage you to think about mental health beyond UK boundaries. This does not preclude students outside the UK studying the module.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor to help you with the study material and to assess your ongoing progress by marking and commenting on your written work and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. Most of the contact with your tutor and other students will be via email and online discussion forums. We may also be able to offer group tutorials or day schools that you are encouraged to attend. Where your tutorials are held will depend on the distribution of students taking the module.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

Assessment

The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.1

You will be expected to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) online through the eTMA system unless there are some difficulties which prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement to submit your assignment on paper.

1We previously advertised this module as having an exam – from October 2018 it will feature an End-of-module assessment (EMA) instead.

Future availability

Mental health and community starts once a year – in October. This page describes the module that starts in October 2018. We expect it to start for the last time in October 2022.
 

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Essential Documents website.

    Course work includes:

    4 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
    End-of-module assessment
    No residential school

    Course satisfaction survey

    See the satisfaction survey results for this course.


    Entry requirements

    This is an OU level 2 module and you need to have the study skills required for both higher education and distance learning, obtained either through OU level 1 study or from equivalent study elsewhere. Our OU level 1 modules An introduction to health and social care (K101) and/or Perspectives in health and social care (K118) would be ideal preparation. However, you don’t need any prior knowledge as the study material for this module is designed to be accessible if you are new to this subject.

    If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

    Preparatory work

    You will receive guidance on how to get started online in your first mailing. This will include information on using your computer for OU study and working with the Computing Guide. For example, the guidance explains how to access and use your module website and online discussion forums. If you have time before the start of the module you can work through this and explore all the online services available to you.

    Register

    Start End England fee Register
    06 Oct 2018 Jun 2019 £2928.00

    Registration closes 13/09/18 (places subject to availability)

    Register
    This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2022.

    Additional Costs

    Study costs

    There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a laptop, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access.

    If you're on a low income you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after your module has started.

    Ways to pay for this module

    Open University Student Budget Account

    The Open University Student Budget Accounts Ltd (OUSBA) offers a convenient 'pay as you go' option to pay your OU fees, which is a secure, quick and easy way to pay. Please note that The Open University works exclusively with OUSBA and is not able to offer you credit facilities from any other provider. All credit is subject to status and proof that you can afford the repayments.

    You pay the OU through OUSBA in one of the following ways:

    • Register now, pay later – OUSBA pays your module fee direct to the OU. You then repay OUSBA interest-free and in full just before your module starts. 0% APR representative. This option could give you the extra time you may need to secure the funding to repay OUSBA.
    • Pay by instalments – OUSBA calculates your monthly fee and number of instalments based on the cost of the module you are studying. APR 5.1% representative.

    Joint loan applications

    If you feel you would be unable to obtain an OUSBA loan on your own due to credit history or affordability issues, OUSBA offers the option to apply for a joint loan application with a third party. For example, your husband, wife, partner, parent, sibling or friend. In such cases, OUSBA will be required to carry out additional affordability checks separately and/or collectively for both joint applicants who will be jointly and severally liable for loan repayments.

    As additional affordability checks are required when processing joint loan applications, unfortunately, an instant decision cannot be given. On average the processing time for a joint loan application is five working days from receipt of the required documentation.

    Read more about Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).  

    Employer sponsorship

    Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU courses are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to complete. They also value the skills that students learn and can apply in the workplace.

    More than one in ten OU students are sponsored by their employer, and over 30,000 employers have used the OU to develop staff so far. If the module you’ve chosen is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could approach your employer to see if they will sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. 

    • Your employer just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.
    • You won’t need to get your employer to complete the form until after you’ve chosen your module.  

    Credit/debit card

    You can pay part or all of your tuition fees upfront with a debit or credit card when you register for each module. 

    We accept American Express, Maestro (UK only), Mastercard, Visa/Delta and Visa Electron. 

    Mixed payments

    We know that sometimes you may want to combine payment options. For example, you may wish to pay part of your tuition fee with a debit card and pay the remainder in instalments through an Open University Student Budget Account (OUSBA).


    For more information about combining payment options, speak to an adviser or book a call back at a time convenient to you.


    Please note: your permanent address/domicile will affect your fee status and therefore the fees you are charged and any financial support available to you. The fees and funding information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2019. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees. 

    This information was provided on 21/06/2018.

    What's included

    Module guide, four study books, reader Mental Health Still Matters, and other printed material. You will have access to a module website through which assessment, teaching and library resources are available. On the website there is a module map which explains how the study materials fit together, as well as electronic versions of most of the printed study materials.

    Computing requirements

    A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module.  Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

    Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

    A desktop or laptop computer with either:

    • Windows 7 or higher
    • macOS 10.7 or higher

    The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

    To participate in our online-discussion area you will need both a microphone and speakers/headphones. 

    Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students. 

    If you have a disability

    The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying K240 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

    To find out more about what kind of support and adjustments might be available, contact us or visit our Overcoming barriers to study if you have a disability or health condition website.