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Caring for adults
Caring for adults

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Mental health awareness


Mental health care has been described as ‘a family affair’ because modern support services are increasingly focused on community settings, where most mental health care now takes place. According to the Office for National Statistics (2010), there are 1.5 million people in the UK caring for a relative or friend with a mental health problem or dementia. There is an increasing emphasis on the role of family caregivers in supporting recovery for people in mental distress.

The course is of value to all carers. Carers for people with mental health problems can include people looking after a relative or a friend in their home. They might also include people who are paid to care, such as support workers in community-based services. We also recognise that in some situations the ‘cared-for-person’ might have some caring responsibilities and that informal and paid carers might also need looking after at times.

In this section you will develop an awareness of mental health problems. You will look at care and treatment options for individuals who are diagnosed with one of a range of mental illnesses. You will then study the role of family carers looking after a friend or relative with mental health problems, and their relationship and engagement with mental health services.

At the end of the section there is a short quiz to test what you have learned. On successful completion of the quiz you will earn a digital badge.

This section is divided into five topics and each of these should take you around half an hour to study and complete. The topics are as follows:

  1. Terminology and mental health discusses the difference between good mental health and mental health problems. It introduces the biomedical model as an approach to care and treatment and outlines some of the shortcomings of this model.
  2. Types of mental health problems describes signs and symptoms of specific mental health problems.
  3. Experiencing mental health problems explains how mental health problems can affect the individual.
  4. Mental health care and treatment outlines mental health care aims for recovery and discusses specific treatment for particular types of mental health problems.
  5. Carer experience discusses the impact of mental health problems on family carers and how family carers can engage with mental health services.