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Last updated:

April 8, 2022


6 months


This course includes:

6 months

Badge on Completion

Certificate of completion

6 months


Take a new and different look at mental health. This course, Challenging ideas in mental health, invites you to think differently about life's dilemmas by taking account of the views of all concerned, especially people experiencing mental distress. It explores ideas and practices in mental health and will appeal to a wide range of people.


This course takes you on a journey of discovery where you are invited to challenge ideas, both new and old, in relation to mental health. It is made up of a series of three extracts. The first extract, ‘Boundaries of explanation’, sets out the theme of boundaries: boundaries within and between groups; within and between explanatory frameworks; and within and between experiences of mental health and distress. The second extract, ‘Whose risk is it anyway?’, considers a critical account of the increasing focus on risk (particularly risk to others) in policies and professional practice since the 1980s. The third extract, ‘The business of madness’, looks at two controversial areas of mental health: the growth of mental health as a business, driven in part by market forces, and the profit motive.

Learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:
  • Understand the complexity and dilemmas of diverse perspectives in the field of mental health and distress
  • Understand the importance of service users/'survivors' experiences and perspectives
  • Understand how mental health issues affect everyone
  • Understand the range of risks faced by service users/'survivors' in their everyday lives.

Course Curriculum

    • Introduction 00:30:00
    • Boundaries of exclusion 00:30:00
    • Boundaries and terminology 01:00:00
    • Boundaries of difference 02:30:00
    • Boundaries of ‘normality’ 01:00:00
    • Ways of viewing mental distress 01:00:00
    • Introduction 01:00:00
    • What is risk? 02:00:00
    • Community care, fear and the ‘high-risk’ service user 03:00:00
    • Introduction 00:30:00
    • Mental health as business: introducing the debate 01:00:00
    • Mental health as business: the profit motive 00:30:00
    • A conflict of interest 01:00:00
    • Pharmaceuticals for mental health: a brief history 01:00:00
    • Benzodiazepine tranquillisers, Prozac and the SSRIs 01:00:00
    • Conclusion 00:30:00

About the instructor

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Open University UK