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Critical perspectives on mental health in society

Within this module you’ll explore and critically reflect upon mental health. You'll study the relationship between the lived experiences of individuals, and the society and environment in which they live. The module will introduce you to various models of understanding and critiquing mental health. Although the primary focus will be UK-based, examples from international contexts will be included in order for you to understand the impact that society as a whole can have on 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

K243

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

Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU module levels correspond to these frameworks.
Level of Study
OU SCQF FHEQ
2 9 5

Study method

Module cost

Entry requirements

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What you will study

This module is made up of five blocks, each designed to help you understand contemporary issues concerning mental health.
 
Block 1
The opening block aims to help you get started and provides information for you to refer back to throughout your studies. It is a short but important foundation. You'll explore the terminology that is used in contemporary mental health and will be introduced to concepts that underpin mental health and mental ill health, language which is used throughout this module. You'll also further develop study skills such as taking notes online and dealing with emotive content. Last you'll explore what is meant by lived experience, a perspective which underpins this module in which people have been willing to share their real-life experiences.

Block 2
This block will help you to understand the various models and perspectives that underpin mental health. You'll start with the social model and move into the medical model followed by an exploration of the psychological and spiritual. The block closes with an examination of models when integrated and will allow an opportunity to consider the advantages and disadvantages of each. This block is slightly longer than block 1 and is a good basis for understanding different approaches to mental health.

Block 3
This block considers the challenges associated with mental health starting with a critique of the perspectives that you explored in block 2. You'll then go on to study challenges that can occur when mental health and physical health occur together building on the terminology and concepts you were introduced to in block 1. Challenges then continue when you consider what it is like to be old and young and how these different periods of a person’s life can impact on mental health. You'll conclude by focussing on challenges through doing, which means exploring areas such as caring and activism.

Block 4
In this block you'll move on to study mental health in terms of concepts and theories, which can be more abstract in their nature but are intended to build on the knowledge you have learned so far, and to consider the impact of them. Topics include poverty, race, gender and sexuality, technology, and global issues through the lens of a legal perspective. You'll be asked to consider what the future may mean for mental health.

Block 5
The final block aims to help you reflect upon the materials you have been studying throughout and to do so from the perspective of lived experience. The intention is for you to have the time to do so and then to prepare for the end-of-module assessment through which you'll be guided by the content.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

Throughout your module studies, you’ll get help and support from your assigned module tutor. They’ll help you by:

  • Marking your assignments (TMAs) and providing detailed feedback for you to improve.
  • Guiding you to additional learning resources.
  • Providing individual guidance, whether that’s for general study skills or specific module content.
  • Facilitating online discussions between your fellow students, in the dedicated module and tutor group forums.

Module tutors also run online tutorials throughout the module. Where possible, recordings of online tutorials will be made available to students. While these tutorials won’t be compulsory for you to complete the module, you’re strongly encouraged to take part.

Assessment

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

Future availability

Critical perspectives on mental health in society (K243) starts once a year – in October.

This page describes the module that will start in October 2024.

We expect it to start for the last time in October 2031.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

Course work includes:

3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
1 Interactive computer-marked assignment (iCMA)
End-of-module assessment


Entry requirements

There are no entry requirements for this module. 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.

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

Preparatory work

If you are studying for a Health and Social Care qualification, our OU level 1 module Introducing health and social care (K102) is 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.
 
Whilst there are no preparatory resources that you must read before studying this module, you may wish to look at the book series Foundations of Mental Health Practice, especially the text on Models of Mental Health by Gavin Davidson, Jim Campbell, Ciaran Shannon and Ciarin Mulholland published by Macmillan International in 2019. You may also want to look at the BBC documentary Psychosis and Me which details the experience of the actor David Harewood.

Topics that you may wish to revise include terminology that is used in mental health, perspectives of mental health and lived experience.

Register

Start End England fee Register
05 Oct 2024 Jun 2025 £3636.00

Registration closes 05/09/24 (places subject to availability)

Register
This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2031.

Additional Costs

Study costs

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

If your income is not more than £25,000 or you receive a qualifying benefit, 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, Mastercard, Visa 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).


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 fee information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2025. Fees typically increase annually. For further information about the University's fee policy, visit our Fee Rules

This information was provided on 15/07/2024.

Can you study an Access module for free?

Depending on eligibility and availability of places, you could apply to study your Access module for free.

To qualify, you must:

  1. be resident in England
  2. have a household income of not more than £25,000 (or be in receipt of a qualifying benefit)
  3. have not completed one year or more on any full-time undergraduate programme at FHEQ level 4 or above or successfully completed 30 credits or more of OU study within the last 10 years

How to apply to study an Access module for free

Once you've started the registration process, either online or over the phone, we'll contact you about your payment options. This will include instructions on how you can apply to study for free if you are eligible and funded places are still available.

If you're unsure if you meet the criteria to study for free, you can check with one of our friendly advisers on +44 (0)300 303 0069, or you can request a call back.

Not eligible to study for free?

Don't worry! We offer a choice of flexible ways to help spread the cost of your Access module. The most popular options include:

  • monthly payments through OUSBA
  • part-time tuition fee loan (you'll need to be registered on a qualification for this option)

To explore all the options available to you, visit Fees and Funding.

What's included

This module uses a wide range of rich online resources, each designed to enable students to learn in a way that suits them. In addition a printed Reader supplements the module and includes a number of short articles exploring various aspects of mental health.

Computing requirements

You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11) or macOS Ventura or higher.

Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.

To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.

It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop, as described above.

If you have a disability

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying K243 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 disability support pages.