The course focuses on the special conditions and work methods which are relevant for social work within health care settings and even services directed to individuals with mental illness or psychiatric impairments in the community.
The content of the course is divided into three parts; 1) A brief introduction to the historic background and the organisational and legal structures which influence social work in health care settings, as well as introducing the phenomenon of medicalisation. 2) A closer look at the roles which social workers play in working in health care settings adressing complex medical conditions as well as a model for supporting change processes in counseling oriented social work 3) The situation for, and services directed to, people with mental illness or mental health problems.
Part one is a briefer introduction and attempts to tie together the two following and more developed sections by investigating the professional development of social work in health care as opposed to social welfare settings. In addition to presenting factors that contribute to change processes at the client/patient level, section two focuses on a number of central areas for hospital social work in area such as reproductive health and serious chronic illness. Professional as well as patient perspectives are touched upon here. The third section begins by developing concepts used in understanding mental illness and mental health as well as the manner in which services are organized for this group in health and welfare systems in Sweden and internationally. The fields of community mental health and social psychiatry are in focus here. Critical perspectives on the structure and role of psychiatry are reviewed. Additional concepts in mental health care including stigma and societal attitudes, carer and user perspectives, meetings and relationships with clients, psychiatric rehabilitation, knowledge of how people recover and empowerment are adressed. Finally, these broad understandings of the field are connected to the current methods that are being researched and implemented internationally and in Sweden, including supported employment and case management,
Together with the specific content related to developments in psychiatry and social psychiatry,knowledge regarding the relationship between scientific knowledge and our attempts to develop practice and concrete solutions, over how personal experience and individuality influence practice, and our ability to critically evaluate research in the area, is discussed.