PARTICIPATION AND ENGAGEMENT: THE ROLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION ON MENTAL HEALTH, PROMOTING INCLUSIVITY, SELF ESTEEM, EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY FOR MENTAL HEALTH SERVICE USERS
University of South Wales (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Conference name: 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2016
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:The paper outlines the design and deliver of a course of study entitled ‘Understanding Mental Health ' aimed at service users and delivered as part of a Community Education Programme. The programme seeks to overcome non-participation and develops learning centres in the community, thereby widening participation and providing a reference point for participants of achievement. The paper will explore the provision of flexible modes of study and delivery through joint working with organizations (both voluntary and statutory). In addition, the challenges of ensuring learner support, organization liaison /support, assessment, and student attainment will also be addressed. The programme is delivered in community settings and outside of traditional University settings e.g. mental health outreach and drop in centres. The programme has run for a number of years and students that enroll on the course consist of, primarily mental health service users, members of the public and carers (both professional and informal). The course content focuses on a wide range of mental health issues that are identified within society, including an analysis of how mental disorder is classified; and a range of helping interventions are outlined e.g. Cognitive Behavioural approaches, group work, role of medication, psychosocial interventions. In addition services available for people with mental health difficulties are highlighted as well as the concept of mental health promotion. All those who enrol become students of the University and gain academic credit for undertaking the course and the paper will discuss student progression and associated diversity, equality and self esteem and the perceptions of students.
Keywords: Mental health, self esteem, education and widening participation, diversity, inclusive learning for disadvantaged groups.