Presentation on theme: "Adolescents’ understandings of mental illness and the development of anti-discrimination education Emma Lindley School of Education University of Manchester."— Presentation transcript:
Adolescents’ understandings of mental illness and the development of anti-discrimination education Emma Lindley School of Education University of Manchester
Why this research? Where issues of mental health come up in schools, most attention is given to health promotion or treatment. Adolescence is a critical time for the forming of opinions. Anti-stigma campaigns have been designed with little in-depth investigation of how beliefs about mental illness are constructed.
Method Seven year 10 pupils were engaged in weekly hour-long discussion sessions for six weeks. Individual interviews Three further workshop sessions Final feedback interviews
Purpose The sessions had two purposes: – To investigate the young people’s existing understandings of mental health issues; – To experiment with techniques to enable young people to make shifts away from discriminatory positions in relation to mental illness.
Techniques Tools for stimulating discussion included: – Photo vignettes – Figured narratives – Profile building – Language mind-mapping – Handbag exploration exercise Sessions were dominated by open discussion, generated by the participants’ own contributions and suggestions.
Sarah This is Sarah. She’s in your bunch of mates. She’s always been quite quiet. Recently she’s started getting angry at random times for no apparent reason and saying pretty nasty things to you and your friends, totally unprovoked. You found her in the toilets crying the other day and you’ve noticed she looks really tired and pale a lot of the time.
Analysis Detailed reflections on the transcripts – chronological narrative account. Identification of first order findings leading to coding framework Systematic coding of all transcripts Analytic reflections leading to second order findings
First order findings First order findings were identified: – Knowledge and concepts – Process – Discoveries and insights
Knowledge and concepts Limited use of illness labels and medical language Vagueness about distinctions between mental illness, learning disability and physical disability Few ideas about causality in the abstract
Process Associative leaps Visualising the vignettes Preserving group solidarity Politeness of conflicting views
Discoveries and insights You can’t see mental illness Anybody can have mental illness Mental illness isn’t fixed Huge spectrum between mild and severe
Second order findings Second order findings: – Attributions made about people with mental illness – Positions taken in relation to others with mental illness – Capacity to shift position
Dominant attributions Unpredictability Dangerousness Otherness Deficiency Not their fault Basically one of us (with issues) Plurality
Positions Avoidance Control Pity Empathy Interest It could be me, so I’d better think differently
Factors influencing position Personal vs. abstract Psychosocial explanatory frameworks Degree of otherness Aesthetics
Implications for education Importance of facilitating a safe social space for exploration of the topic Creation of opportunities to explore personal narratives – Not just any narrative – The more personal, the better Championing the active – Critical to trust young people to be active meaning makers