Opening minds: user involvement in the production of learning materials on mental health and distress

Journal article citation:
Social Work Education (The International Journal), 18(4), November 1999, pp.417-431.
Taylor and Francis
Place of publication:
Philadelphia, USA

This article looks at the process of involving users in the production of the Open University course on mental health. There is increasing recognition of the need for partnership with service users in training provision as well as in professional practice, but there has been less attention to how this works out, and to the dilemmas faced by participants in such processes. 'Mental health and illness' are highly contested concepts. Professional debates on appropriate frameworks for intervention mean that the promotion of user views in training courses may be derided as 'antipsychiatry'. This is a particular risk for social work education. There are then dilemmas for educators on providing academic credibility and balance while being sensitive to user perspectives and critiques. However, academic criteria about what counts as knowledge are subject to change, and user views may have an influence here.

Subject terms:
mental health, mental health problems, social work education, teaching methods, training materials, user participation;
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