Understanding Mental Health

This unit explores why and how mental health and wellbeing are important to all of us.

Mental health problems are estimated to cost the UK economy as much as £105 billion each year. As frequent topics of conversation in politics and the media, mental health and illness generate significant intellectual and professional disputes. The unit will introduce you to some of these discussions, including how people's experiences come to be labelled as 'mental illness' in some cultures but not others.

You will gain new perspectives on longstanding questions in the field, such as the 'nature vs nurture' debate, causes of mental health problems, and the history and controversies relating to psychiatric labelling, diagnosis and treatments. You will consider contrasting theoretical perspectives - specifically biological, social and psychological models - on mental health problems and their management. Within a historical and social context, you will evaluate the evidence-base for these perspectives, and consider their implications. You will also be introduced to research, theory and practice that have helped shape how mental health problems might be treated.

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