Summarise and discuss the presentations of mental health in the two newspaper articles

In this first assignment we have provided you with two recent newspaper articles relating to mental health and the treatment of mental health

issues. These provide a window into representations of mental health in the UK today. For the assignment, you should first summarise how mental

health issues are presented in these articles. Then, discuss these representations in relation to your knowledge of mental health today and its

history, as discussed in Block 1 of the module material. You should particularly draw on the material about the history of counselling and

psychotherapy, diagnosis and the biopsychosocial approach in your assignment.

All of the material from Chapter 3 of the module book will be of relevance, as well some from Chapters 1 and 2. From Chapter 3 you might

particularly want to look at the understanding of mental health from a biopsychosocial perspective (Section 3.3) and Section 3.5, ‘Changing

psychology by changing the brain’. From Chapter 1, Section 1.3, ‘Counselling and psychotherapy’, and Section 1.4, ‘History of counselling and

psychotherapy’ will be particularly helpful. From Chapter 2 you could usefully draw on Section 2.2, ‘Current western diagnostic systems and

their history’, Section 2.5, ‘Focus on ‘depression’ and ‘anxiety’’, Section 2.8, ‘The politics of diagnosis and formulation’ and Section 2.9,

‘Mixed messages from psychotherapies’. Excerpts 2 and 3 (videos from Weeks 2 and 4) will be helpful because they include experiences with stigma

and drug use. Excerpt 4 (audio from Week 4) might also be useful, as it offers a critical stance in regard to the biological or medical

approach. You may also touch on material from Week 5 about how the current view of mental health and diagnosis has been shaped by psychoanalytic

understandings (the ‘Introduction’ and ‘Conclusion’ – Sections 4.1 and 4.6 – of Chapter 4 will probably be most useful). However, this chapter

is not vital to this assignment.

You might also wish to mention other media presentations of mental illness briefly in your assignment, such as TV programmes, films or other

newspaper articles that you have come across. However, make sure that the focus of your assignment is on the two newspaper articles provided at

the end of this TMA.
Structuring your assignment

The assignment asks for a summary and then a discussion. This means that, following an introduction saying what you are going to cover (100

words), you should briefly summarise what the newspaper articles are saying (in about250 words), and then discuss them in relation to your

knowledge and understanding from Block 1 of the module about these matters (1000 words). Finally, conclude (100 words) with a brief summary of

your discussion and any conclusion you draw from the evidence presented.

It is important that you don’t present information from newspaper articles (or from any other popular sources such as non-academic websites or

TV programmes) as ‘fact’. Rather, you need to make sure you can reference academic materials from the module and module book that support or

challenge the ideas in the articles.

In the discussion part of the assignment you might want to have two or three subheadings to divide it into key points you want to make or issues

you want to cover. For example, you might consider sections on: the extent of the problem of depression and anxiety, who suffers from depression

and anxiety, the causes of depression and anxiety, the treatment of depression and anxiety. Within each of these sections, you will have three

or four paragraphs (a section following a subheading in an assignment should never be briefer than this – if it is, you should dispense with the

subheading). Each paragraph should make a point (e.g. about a common theme in the newspaper articles) and go on to support that point with

information and references.

At this stage it can be very useful to map out your assignment on one side of A4 paper showing the main subsections and the points you want to

make in each paragraph of these. You can share this structure with a friend or family member to get some feedback.
Building up your assignment

Once you have a structure, you can use it to build up your assignment by writing full paragraphs where each line was before. At this stage it is

important to remember to back up every theoretical point or statement of fact that you make with references. For example, reference the articles

you have used and include quotes from them to support the points you make about media presentations of mental health, and reference the module

book and audio-visual materials (and other authors cited in the module book) when you are discussing these presentations.

Here is an example of the kinds of paragraphs you might write (taken from somewhere in the middle of the assignment).

The two articles locate the causes of depression in very different places. Meikle and Campbell (2015) focus on the letter from 400 counsellors

and psychotherapists which clearly relates depression and other mental health problems to the wider social world, particularly to experiences

under austerity of poverty, unemployment and the like. Gray (2015), on the other hand, focuses on a recent study which locates depression

entirely in biological factors, notably inflammation of the brain. Gray (2015) quotes the researcher, Dr Meyer, as saying: ‘Depression is a

complex illness and we know that it takes more than one biological change to tip someone into an episode’. This seems to suggest that Meyer

regards depression entirely as a biological ‘illness’, rather than seeing a role for psychological experience or social conditions.

As Toates (2010) makes clear, there are limitations in seeing mental health problems purely from a biological, psychological or social