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Enabling Places and Spaces: Social Perspectives on Disability and Mental Health - SPY00044I

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  • Department: Social Policy and Social Work
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Nicola Moran
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: I
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25
    • See module specification for other years: 2023-24

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2024-25

Module aims

This module will introduce you to social perspectives on mental health and disability. You will apply key social theories and models to critically explore the various ways social context, inclusive of social determinants, shapes the lives of disabled people and people with mental health difficulties. You will engage with the experiences and perspectives of disabled people and people with mental health difficulties throughout the module. You will gain an understanding of various social interventions designed to meet the needs and rights of disabled people and people with mental health difficulties within society.

This module takes a socially oriented approach to exploring disability and mental health. It examines key social concepts and theories for understanding disability and mental health, with a focus on differences and inequalities in societal patterning of mental health and disability. In turn, the module critically evaluates policy and institutional responses to the needs and rights of disabled people and people who experience mental health difficulties. The module also incorporates ‘real world’ application via inclusion of the perspectives of people with lived experience, and the introduction of socially oriented approaches to promoting well-being and challenging discrimination within the fields of mental health and disability.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, you will:

  • Demonstrate in depth knowledge of social theories and models of mental health and disability.

  • Identify and analyse the social determinants of mental health and disability.

  • Apply relevant social theories and models to issues of inequality relating to disability and mental health.

  • Critically explore current debates in policy responses and institutional approaches to disability and mental health.

  • Assess social approaches that support inclusion for and challenge discrimination of disabled people and people with mental health difficulties.

  • Appreciate and engage with the perspectives and experiences of people with lived experience of mental health difficulties and disability

Module content

Indicative content for the module is:

Week 1 - Introduction

Weeks 2-4 - Social theories and models of mental health and disability (including international perspectives and culturally informed models)

Weeks 5-8 - How these theories and models play out in social domains such as welfare, employment, education, criminal justice and health. The module will primarily focus on adults, but there will also be a session on children and young people and a session on unpaid carers. Experiences and challenges of stigma and discrimination faced by people experiencing disability and mental health difficulties will be weaved throughout the sessions.

Week 9 - How dominant ways of thinking about disability and mental health influence policy and institutional responses

Weeks 10-11 - Social interventions and social capital in mental health and disability


Task Length % of module mark
Essay 2500 words
N/A 100

Special assessment rules




Module feedback

Feedback will be given in accordance with the University Policy on feedback in the Guide to Assessment as well as in line with the School policy.

Indicative reading

  • Goodley, D. (2016) Disability Studies: An Interdisciplinary Introduction. Second Edition. London: Sage.

  • Shakespeare, T. (2014) Disability Rights and Wrongs Revisited. London: Routledge.

  • Glasby J. and Tew, J. (2015) Mental Health Policy and Practice, 3rd edn, London: Palgrave.

  • Lund, C., Brooke-Sumner, C., Baingana, F., Baron, E.C., Breuer, E., Chandra, P., Haushofer, J., Herrman, H., Jordans, M., Kieling, C., Medina-Mora, M.E., Morgan, E., Omigbodun, O., Tol, W., Patel, V., Saxena, S. (2018) Social determinants of mental disorders and the Sustainable Development Goals: a systematic review of reviews. The Lancet Psychiatry, Volume 5, Issue 4, Pages 357-369.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.