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3.9 Being on the receiving end

Case Study 2: The Cameron family

David and Marie Cameron, a married couple in their 40s, live in a middle-class suburb. Marie teaches French at the local secondary school, while David is a full-time official for a clerical workers’ union. Both are active in the local Labour
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3.5 Ethnic categories

As we noted in Section 1, the names and labels used to denote specific differences – including those relating to ethnicity – are always changing. For example, the term ‘mixed background’ was first introduced in the 2001 census; also, different categories were used in the Northern Ireland census. So ethnic identities say something about how society categorises people, not about unchanging facts ‘out there’. You may also have noticed that the categories in the list refer to differen
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2.3.1 An essentialist perspective

One way of understanding apparent differences in people’s behaviour and needs is to account for them as a direct result of their membership of a particular social group or category. For example, it might be suggested that a patient expresses herself in a very physical way because she is of African-Caribbean origin, and therefore because of certain innate biological or psychological attributes shared by all members of that ethnic group. Or it might be argued that a male manager behaves aggre
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2.2 Analysing communication problems

Below are two very different responses to Case Study 1.

  1. The main cause of the ‘communication problem’ was the Bangladeshi woman’s poor grasp of spoken English, which meant she was unable to communicate her needs clearly or to understand what was being said to her during her stay in hospital. She probably lacked confidence in herself, either because of her language difficulties or because of her cultural background. Perhaps the hospital could have
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Acknowledgements

The content acknowledged below is Proprietary (see terms and conditions) and is used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence.

Course image: Rob Briscoe in Flickr
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1.5.3 Labelling

Official language about informal carers is at variance with the way we normally talk about family life. How many children or young people who care – for parents or other relatives – would spontaneously label themselves a ‘young carer’? How many parents would describe their son or daughter in this way? How many people who frame census questions would have thought of including a question to find out, until ‘young carer’ became a category like ‘disability’ or ‘age’ that censu
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1.5.2 Duration and frequency

We do not know if Katrina's caring responsibilities took up more than 20 hours per week. In a sense, though, whether they did or not is immaterial. What is important is that her schooling was adversely affected. We can speculate that, even if caring accounted for less than 20 hours per week, the emotional impact of being a young carer overflowed into a far larger proportion of her life.


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1.5 Young carers

Who is left out of the definition of informal carer? At first sight, taking account of the four complications noted above means that no one is left out. The definition can embrace anyone who is taking unpaid responsibility for the welfare of another person. Where do children and young people come into this? Maybe in answering Activity 5 you considered whether parenting young children makes you a carer. Looking after young children is not usually seen as making someone a carer. It is seen as m
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2.4.3 abelling

The term ‘informal carer’ is a label. It was coined to describe people who take on unpaid responsibility for the welfare of another person. It is a term which has meaning only when the public world of care provision comes into contact with the private world of the family where caring is a day-to-day, unremarked-upon activity, like reminding a young child to clean her teeth. Labelling yourself as an informal carer requires a major shift in the way you see yourself, a shift neither Arthur n
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7.3 Other kinds of help

Diane said that Paul and Stanley helped her with dog minding, gardening, shopping and other jobs around the house. Sometimes they bought her presents.

John said that what he got from Mr Asghar was the reliability of long-term friendship, advice and support through his various recent problems.

Enid mentioned help from relatives and friends, whom she had come to rely on.

At home, Sarah got help from her mother, who was also disabled. She also got help from other students in he
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4 Audio clip 3: Enid Francis

Enid Francis lived in a modern residential area on the outskirts of Derby. She shared a house with her husband, Wally, and two grown-up sons, Mark and John. Her husband had had to give up work eighteen months before his retirement, because of a heart complaint. Their two sons, aged 35 and 32, were both autistic. Enid's day was organised around meeting their needs for care and support. On weekdays, they attended a day centre, which she would have to get them ready for. When they came home in t
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Learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • assess the degree to which health pervades all aspects of contemporary life

  • identify views on what health means personally

  • review a range of meanings that health has for individuals and groups of individuals

  • discuss the social and cultural significance of this range of meanings

  • critically analyse the distinction between ‘lay’ and professional perspectives on health.
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1.4 Skills

Social workers develop their skills largely in the course of their practice experiences. However, it is good to have a framework to help with your learning and understanding.

We use four categories of skill in our framework:

  • skills in thinking – analysing, managing, reflecting and valuing
  • skills in using the senses – listening and talking, observing, understanding and expressing feelings
  • skills combining thinking and using the se
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1.3 The social work process

The social work process comprises a sequence of actions or tasks that draw on all of the components of practice discussed so far. Although its process is presented sequentially, it rarely follows a clear linear route and is more often a fluid, circular cycle whereby workers move from assessment through to implementation and evaluation and back to assessment again. Despite this fluidity, some parts of the process, such as assessment, have clearly defined procedures guided by local or national
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Keep on learning

Study another free course

There are more than 800 courses on OpenLearn for you to
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3.4 Type

To improve aerobic fitness the ACSM recommends exercise that employs large muscle groups, is rhythmic or dynamic, can be maintained continuously and is aerobic in nature (Garber et al., 2011). This type of exercise results in larger increases in aerobic fitness. Activities that would fit into this category include walking, running, swimming and cycling. This again depends upon the level of the individual and their goals and demands of their activity or sport.

Frequency, intensity, time
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2.3 Community care, fear and the ‘high-risk’ service user

So far in this course you have seen how the concept of risk has come to suggest danger. This section explores in greater depth how the changes that have led to this situation have impacted on mental health policies and practice. The next activity involves reading an article to help you consider risk in the context of mental health services.


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1.3 Ways of viewing mental distress

The first point to note is that there are two key competing ways of viewing mental illness or distress: physical and social. One of the functions of this course is to draw together aspects of these accounts in order to cross the boundaries that they create and maintain. Our aim in this respect is to devise a third way, a more rounded and holistic approach that brings together the best of both worlds. In the meantime, though, the physical and social explanations predominate. Physical explanati
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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. In the following passage Abina Par
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1.1 Introduction

This extract looks at what we are calling ‘boundaries of explanation’. It tackles key issues such as:

  • What are mental health and distress – and who decides?

  • What are the views of people who have acquired a label of ‘mental illness’?

  • What are the views of those who determine – and patrol – the boundary between mental distress and ‘normality’?

The extract looks at language and terminology an
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