Making sense of mental health problems
Making sense of mental health problems

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Making sense of mental health problems

1.1 An assessment of Mandy’s situation

In this section you will focus on the case study of Mandy and carry out your own initial assessment of Mandy before finding out more about how different mental health practitioners might assess her. Read the case study summary below and then answer the questions that follow.

Case study: Mandy

Figure 2 ‘Mandy’

Mandy is a 25-year-old woman who lives alone in a small privately rented flat.

Mandy’s birth mother had problems with drug addiction and led a rather chaotic lifestyle, which meant that her contact with support services was intermittent. She never revealed who Mandy’s father was and had started to live with another man some months after Mandy’s birth. After social services were called in to investigate suspected physical abuse within her mother’s home, Mandy was taken into care at the age of two. She was fostered by a couple in a nearby town who went on to adopt her. The couple wished for Mandy to do well but rarely displayed warmth or love either towards her or towards each other.

Mandy found it difficult to settle at school, but at the age of 15 she began to take a keen interest in art. This new interest motivated her to work harder, and she left school with A Levels in art, English and geography. She went on to study art and design at a university located in a city more than 100 miles away from her family home, and maintained only minimal contact with her adopted parents. She enjoyed the course and the student lifestyle, throwing herself into the social scene associated with the Art Department and its students.

Mandy was in a relationship with a fellow male student while at university. After graduating they stayed in the same city and moved in together, but neither of them was able to find a job that used their degrees; thus they regularly grew despondent and rowed frequently over money. Mandy worked as a waitress for a few months but found it too stressful and tiring, so she went to work in a department store instead. Her boyfriend decided to move to another city in the hope of finding better work there; the distance drove them apart and they eventually split up.

Meanwhile Mandy tried to distract herself by using her spare time to create abstract paintings and by socialising with some other graduates from her course who had also stayed on in the city. But she couldn’t help comparing herself to the other graduates, who all seemed to be much more successful in their careers than she was. Over the next few years her contact with these other people gradually declined and she spent most of her free time in her flat, either painting or watching television. She often found that she was consumed with a deep sense of dissatisfaction with how her life had turned out and wondered at times if this was all life had to offer. 

In the past year Mandy has started to hear a voice commenting on what she is doing. At first she thought it was someone outside the flat talking through the door, but each time she opened the door, there was nobody there. Sometimes the comments are negative, at other times, they merely describe what she is doing at that moment. She recently found out that her ex-boyfriend is getting married and has since been feeling particularly depressed. The voice has become increasingly distracting of late. During a recent shift at work, when she encountered a difficult customer who accused her of short-changing him, she found herself unable to stop herself from shouting at him the things which the voice had uttered. She woke up the next morning with a bad cold, which she used as an excuse to take time off work. She has not been to work for the past two weeks, only leaving the flat briefly to run small errands. She has not told anybody about hearing the voice and has told her work manager that she was down with ‘the flu’. She is vaguely aware that she feels out of sorts but hopes it will pass.

Activity 1 Your assessment of Mandy

By signing in and enrolling on this course you can view and complete all activities within the course, track your progress in My OpenLearn. and when you have completed a course, you can download and print a free Statement of Participation - which you can use to demonstrate your learning.

Click on 'SIGN IN to enrol' to get started.

You can find out more about registering and OpenLearn in our FAQs.

Having made your own initial assessment of Mandy’s situation, you will now hear a group of mental health practitioners talking about how they would approach the task of assessing her need for support and treatment. In subsequent activities later in this course, you will have the opportunity to learn about their approaches in more depth.

Activity 2 Mental health team discussion about Mandy

By signing in and enrolling on this course you can view and complete all activities within the course, track your progress in My OpenLearn. and when you have completed a course, you can download and print a free Statement of Participation - which you can use to demonstrate your learning.

Click on 'SIGN IN to enrol' to get started.

You can find out more about registering and OpenLearn in our FAQs.

Having made your own informal assessment of Mandy’s situation and having had an introduction to three different practitioner perspectives, you will find out more in the next three sections about how the different practitioners perceive the problems Mandy faces. 

K314_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has over 40 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus