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Last updated:

April 8, 2022


6 months

This course includes:

6 months

Badge on Completion

Certificate of completion

6 months


In this course, Making sense of mental health problems, you will learn about how key perspectives in the field have made sense of mental health problems.


This course explores some of the key ways of naming and making sense of mental health problems, such as psychiatric diagnosis, psychological formulation, and social need assessments. There are both theoretical and practical concerns about categorizing mental health problems and you will explore these in relation to mental health practice.

Over the past century, there has been a radical shift in responses to people who experience mental health problems. By directly relating key perspectives to a case study, you will reflect on how the medical perspective, psychological perspective, and social need perspective come to make sense of mental ill-health.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:
  • Describe key theories and concepts that have informed debates about mental health diagnosis
  • Outline how diagnostic systems have been developed and implemented
  • Explain why diagnostic systems are challenged in the mental health field.

Course Curriculum

    • Assessing mental health problems 01:30:00
    • Medical perspectives 00:25:00
    • Diagnostic handbooks 00:40:00
    • Scientific advances in understanding mental health problems 00:40:00
    • A psychiatrist’s perspective 01:40:00
    • Psychological perspectives 01:40:00
    • Social need perspectives 00:05:00
    • A social worker’s perspective 01:50:00
    • Diagnosis and its alternatives 01:00:00
    • Conclusion 00:30:00

About the instructor

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Open University UK