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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: Mental Distress: Critical Perspectives (PGSP11585)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummarySet within the role of the Mental Health Officer, this course will explore knowledge and underpinning policy in relation to mental health and will analyse the social and cultural construction of mental distress and 'mental disorder' from UK and global perspectives. Models of mental well-being, including recovery and citizenship, will be investigated, supported by contributions from people with lived experience of mental distress, thereby enabling candidates to develop critical understandings of this contested field of enquiry and practice. The causation, manifestation and symptoms of 'mental disorder' as defined in the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 will be explored, including key diagnostic categories. The syllabus will also address contemporary developments in national and international law that chart changing ethical understandings and legal protections for people who experience mental distress.

Course description Academic Description
o The course is designed to provide foundational knowledge on how mental health is understood. It recognises that MHO students will have worked with people who experience mental distress but may have had limited opportunity to undertake academic learning on this subject. As such, the course aims to support the development of a critical appreciation of mental health by exploring how definitions, such as mental distress and mental disorder are socially and culturally constructed. It introduces students to the diagnostic criteria and symptomatology used in psychiatry and encourages a questioning approach, in line with the experiences of people who have been subject to compulsory measures under mental health legislation and knowledge of global approaches. The contested nature of mental health is further illustrated in analysis of stigma and contemporary developments in law and policy. The course provides students with a broader, critical context in which to make sense of the specific legal requirements and the human rights and ethical challenges of the MHO role which are addressed in the remainder of the programme.

Outline Content
o Definitions of mental health, distress and disorder
o Models of mental health, including recovery and citizenship
o Global perspectives on mental health and the role of stigma
o Psychiatric classifications, including diagnostic criteria and symptomatology
o Lived experience of mental distress
o Developments in mental health law, policy and ethics.

Student Learning Experience
o The course is taught using a combination of class based and online learning. Students are encouraged to actively participate in this though small group work and a range of directed learning tasks. They are also required to engage in independent/self-directed study. These activities are designed to equip students with the knowledge required to complete a written assessment and to the meet the course's learning outcomes.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  28
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 98 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) The Course has one written assessment, the percentage weighting being 100%. It is a ┬┐must pass┬┐ assessment.

Feedback Essays will be returned with feedback within 15 working days of submission.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of concepts and models of mental distress and disorder, and the promotion of mental wellbeing.
  2. Understand lived experience and the processes and impact of stigma and oppression.
  3. Recognise and articulate the signs, symptoms and core diagnoses of mental disorder, as defined in the legislation.
  4. Demonstrate knowledge and awareness of issues relating to equality, diversity, and social work values.
Reading List
Cummins, I., (2019) Mental Health Social Work Reimagined. Bristol: Policy press.

Davidson, G. et al., (2016) Models of Mental Health. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan

Fernando, S., (2017) Institutional Racism in Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan

Huda, A.S., (2019) Medical Model in Mental Health. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Spandler, H., Anderson, J. and Sapey, B. (2015) Madness, Distress and the Politics of Disablement. Bristol: Policy Press.

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills - The application of analytical, conceptual, critical and empirical methods to the study of professional MHO practice.
- Structuring and presenting critical analysis and argument.
- Independent learning.
- Problem formulation and solving
- Self-evaluation.
- Written communication skills.
- Oral and visual presentation skills.
- Time management.
- Working under pressure.
- Teamwork.
- Self-evaluation and assessment.
- Reflexivity.
- Self-care.
- Information retrieval and research skills.
- ITC skills as required by the SSSC.

KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Pearse McCusker
Tel: (0131 6)50 3927
Course secretaryMrs Casey Behringer
Tel: (0131 6)50 2456
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