What you will study
This module is complementary to the OU level 2 module Diverse perspectives on mental health (K225).
It looks at mental health from a holistic perspective which covers five dimensions of the person – social, emotional, physical, psychological and spiritual. Using this holistic perspective, the module grounds itself in emerging and contemporary debates in mental health. You will consider the influence of the life-module and life events on mental health alongside the development and significance of personality. You will explore the growing awareness of mental health challenges facing both younger and older people, as well as the complex issues facing people who also have physical or learning disabilities. You will also look at the wider implications and possibilities for mental health services, including the use of alternative and complementary approaches, as well as ideas underpinning the contested concept of ‘recovery’.
By the end of the module you should have developed knowledge and understanding of:
the range, complexity and dilemmas of diverse perspectives in the field of mental health and distress
a holistic model for understanding mental health and distress
the importance of service users’/survivors’ experiences and perspectives
how mental health issues affect everyone
the structure of contemporary mental health services, including legislation, policy, planning and delivery
theories and debates about mental health and the relevance of a wide range of sources of evidence.
The module consists of four separate blocks, each integrating printed learning materials with media resources and activities.
Block 1 – Shifting boundaries – explores the theme of boundaries; boundaries within and between groups, within and between different explanatory frameworks, and within and between experiences of mental health and distress. It introduces and explores a holistic framework for understanding mental health and distress using a range of experiences – social, emotional, physical, psychological and spiritual.
Block 2 – Searching for understandings – charts a journey through a range of experiences, drawing on understandings about children and the development of personality through to old age. It explores the differences and similarities between disability and mental distress, and considers how issues such as drug and alcohol misuse are addressed by health and social care services.
Block 3 – Helpful responses? – addresses a range of issues concerning the diverse ways in which responses to mental distress are produced and experienced: for example how different models of intervention and therapeutic approaches are used and evidenced. It examines the complexity and problematic nature of the concept of risk. It explores the meaning of care as it relates to the experiences of service users, carers and mental health professionals, as well as the role of ‘talking therapies’ and the contribution of complementary and alternative approaches to mental health.
Block 4 – Dilemmas and challenges – explores some of the many challenges and dilemmas faced by service users/survivors and workers in mental health services posed, for example, by the pharmaceutical industry and advocacy. It also examines the contested concept of ‘recovery’ in the context of mental health, reviewing the barriers to adopting a ‘recovery model’ and developing ideas about its practical application.