1.2 Boundaries between mental health and illness

Activity 1: What is mental ‘health’?

0 hours 20 minutes

What do you think it means if someone is described as ‘mentally healthy’? Think of all the different ways of descr
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3.2 Questionnaires and interviews

If we are interested in what people think or feel, or in behaviours that are difficult to observe in humans, we need to ask people about themselves. This is a variant on introspection, in that researchers are not looking inside themselves but are using the best possible means to obtain other people's introspections. Psychologists do this through both questionnaires and interviews. Many of you will have filled in questionnaires from market researchers on the street or at home. Questi
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Learning outcomes

By the end of this unit you should be able to:

  • distinguish between mental health and mental illness;

  • give examples of how community resource centres can benefit the well being of individuals and communities in terms of mental health.

Introduction

This unit explores a number of issues relating to mental health practice. It starts by helping you define and understand the difference between mental health and mental illness. It also explores the discrimination that can arise when people experience some form of mental distress. You will look at how professionals working within the community can counter some of the effects of discrimination and stigma and contribute to the well-being of the wider community, as well as those who use their se
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3.1 The beginning of the research process

What distinguishes psychological research from common sense is that psychologists approach information and knowledge in a systematic and consciously articulated way. They use rules and procedures about how to build and apply theories, how to design studies to test hypotheses, how to collect data and use them as evidence, and how to evaluate all forms of knowledge. (See Figure 1, ‘The cycle of enquiry’ in Box 1
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2.1 An evidence-based enterprise

We have seen that psychology is an evidence-based enterprise and we have also seen that disputes about what should count as evidence have had an important impact on the development of psychology as a discipline. For example, the rise of behaviourism was driven by the idea that only observable behaviour is legitimate data for psychology because only data that can be observed by others, and agreed upon, can be objective. Many other disciplines have had less trouble with this issue
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Edgar de Santo
This unit is designed to develop your knowledge and understanding of Spanish-speaking societies and cultures and extend the practical skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. You will examine the world of Spanish and Latin-American art and explore the difference between art and craft.
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Acknowledgements

The content acknowledged below is Proprietary (see terms and conditions) and is used under licence.

Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following sources for permission to reproduce material in this unit:

Text

Reading 1: Perkins, R. (1999) ‘Madness, distress and the language of inclusion, Openmind, Vol 98, Jul/Aug 1999, © 1999 Mind (National Association for Mental Health).

Reading 2: Rose,
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References

Extract 1
Baxter, C., Poonia, K., Ward, L. and Nadirshaw, Z. (1990) Double Discrimination: Issues and Services for People with Learning Difficulties from Black and Minority Ethnic Communities, London, King’s Fund Centre.
Bentall, R.P. (1992) ‘A proposal to classify happiness as a psychiatric disorder’, Journal of Medical Ethics, Vol. 18, pp.
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6.3 What size of majority vote should decide the issue?

In many types of democratic vote, a bare majority (technically, 50 per cent +1) is enough to decide outcomes. But often constitutional changes – changes which would affect the basic structures or political rules of the game – are regarded as needing ‘supermajorities’ of, say, 60 or 70 per cent. A basic change in the sovereign political unit would certainly count as a constitutional change. If the Bs get to vote, we might be concerned if only a bare majority favoured secession, es
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6.1 When is secession justified?

By valuing a group positively and seeking self-determination for it, nationalists often set out to redraw maps, to create new countries or to reinstate old ones. It is rare for this to occur without (often violent) conflict. Can political theorists offer guides to dealing peacefully with such disputes?

One question which political theorists have focused on has been that of secession. Secession as an issue carries with it most of the dilemmas associated with nations and nationalism, and
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5.5 ‘A sense of belonging and membership in which sentiment and emotion play an important rol

Nationalism is about land or territory and what it means to people. Nationalists make claims to the centrality of certain tracts of land to them, to their people, to their collective history, traditions, cultures and sufferings:

When a hundred thousand nationalists march down Sherbrooke Street [in Montreal] chanting ‘Le Quebec aux Quebecois’, they are not just talking about the establishment of a public la
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5.4 ‘The desire to give politico-institutional expression to the first two core concepts

There is a strong case for regarding the third element in the ‘core structure’ of nationalism as the key one. Generally, as we have seen, nationalists want their nation to have a state, or statehood. But political self-determination might have other outlets.

From the comparatively ‘soft’ demands to harder and less compromising ones, the spectrum might consist of some form of:

  • recognition of the cultural distinctiveness
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5.3 ‘A positive valorisation is assigned to one's own nation, granting it specific claims ove

Just how a nation is prioritised over other communities will have an important impact on how the terms of this second element are played out. A nation that sees itself in pluralistic or liberal terms for example – which may celebrate cultural diversity as part of its very sense of a collective identity – is, on the face of it, less likely to make particular demands or to institute extensive controls on the behaviour of its members. On the other hand, a nation that is imagined in terms of
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5.2 ‘The prioritisation of a particular group – the nation – as a key constitut

No particular form of articulating the nation is required by the formulation of this first element; the nation might be ‘imagined’ or ‘constructed’ as homogenous or as pluralistic and diverse, for example. However nationhood is imagined, though, it will invariably involve some form of suppression of alternative ways of classifying peoples. Consider that for most of us there are linguistic, class, ethnic, location, gender, religious and other aspects to our identities.
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5.1 Ideology: a contested concept

Propagators of ideologies use images and symbols to get people to believe and act in certain ways. Nationalism as a political ideology uses the idea of ‘nation’ to achieve political goals, and may be the most potent ideology in existence. It is worth reflecting for a moment on what kind of ideology it is. And it is worth reminding ourselves that ideology is a contested concept; a term that can mean different things. Marx and Engels subscribed to the notion of ideology as a set of ide
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3 Self-determination: individual and collective

The idea of a right to ‘collective self-determination’ is a difficult one – how can a group, as opposed to an individual, have a ‘right’? To argue that a nation has a right to self-determination is, some might argue, to overlook what rights are, and who can claim them.

'Self-determination’ has a positive ring about it – how could anyone oppose it? The idea of self-determination has strong resonances in political theory, dating back as far as Hobbes, at lea
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2 Political belonging: loyalty, community and statehood

Which people, which group, do you belong to? How do we know who is Them, and who is Us? Where do your political loyalties lie? In a way these are simple questions. There are many contexts in our daily lives when we could answer them well enough. We speak common languages with people around us (and often with the same accent). Many of us live in neighbourhoods and recognise ‘neighbours’ as a distinctive group to which we belong. If we pray regularly in a mosque or church then we might
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1.2.3 Boundaries of ‘normality’

The origin of the ‘other’ in society is the widespread human tendency to create categories where people who don't fit in can be placed away from the mainstream. Social categories may lead to prejudice and discrimination, but may also lead to the physical separation of people to the margins of that society. Sibley (1995) traces the physical marginalisation of people in what he calls the ‘geographies of exclusion’. Part of the process of exclusion is where the ‘bad’,
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1.2.2 Boundaries of difference

One of the things that language does is define and give a name to differences between people – to delineate the boundaries that separate them. In the mental health field, the ‘mad’ are at one end of the social divide that separates the ‘normal’ from the ‘abnormal’. They are ‘the other’, a point made in the article by Perkins (above): ‘To be mad is to be defined as “other”’.

This is a recurring theme in the mental health field.
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