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.

Free course

Caring for adults

4 Mental health care and treatment

During the twentieth century, care and treatment of the mentally ill developed from an institutional system based in large mental hospitals to a largely community-based care system. The old mental hospitals provided custodial care, which required patients/inmates to live in a self-contained hospital community, supervised by a separate community of doctors, nurses and other service workers, such as an upholsterer, head gardener and cobbler. Today’s community care has most service users living independently, in small groups or with their own families, in the same community where the rest of us live.

Care and treatment has also evolved. The introduction of effective medication in the 1950s led to the gradual closure of the old hospitals and less need for constant supervision of individuals with serious mental health problems. Concurrently, new talking therapies were introduced that helped individuals to cope with life’s stresses. Today there is a range of effective medication that is used to treat mental health problems from schizophrenia to depression. Whereas at one time the goal was the containment and alleviation of symptoms, today the goal of treatment is recovery.


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 50 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, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 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 prospectus371