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

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4 Social need perspectives

In this section you will find out about some of the ways that practitioners, specifically social workers, engage in understanding and describing mental health problems from a social need perspective. This perspective views a person’s problems as often resulting from their social conditions and believes that addressing these social factors or issues will improve the person's health condition.

There are two main activities. In the first you will explore aspects of the role of the social worker in mental health. This exploration will include a very brief overview of the approved mental health professional's (AMHP) role (a role mostly carried out by social workers). The contributions of Dr Sarah Matthews from The Open University will be mentioned, as her work in the field is of such prominence in the UK (e.g. her book with colleagues entitled Approved Mental Health Practice: Essential Themes for Students and Practitioners [2014] is a key text in the area). In the second activity you will continue to consider different perspectives on Mandy’s situation. This time you will hear from a social worker on what they would need to know about Mandy and her life in order to provide support.