Understanding Lived Experience

This essay is concerned with your developing awareness and understanding of a person’s lived experience of mental health problems. This can relate to either service-users or carer – please choose one of these only.

Select a media product where a personal account of experiencing mental health problems is being portrayed. This can include media types such as:

Television documentary
Newspaper / magazine article
Internet blog/discussion forum
Radio programme
(please note – the product selected should be detailed enough to provide you with sufficient themes to write about – something that a number of magazine articles for example may not do). The product needs to be afactual account and not the work of fiction.

With the support of related literature, illustrate and discuss the nature of the personal experience being recounted.
From your product identify a small number of core themes (essentially what a person is saying about their experience of mental health). The number chosen should enable depth of discussion.
The resulting discussion will provide examples from your product i.e. quotes which can then be reflected against published literature and other first-person accounts
You will need to include a good selection of references (recommended no. approx 25-30) taken from a range of source types (avoid overuse of web sites).
Implications for practice – discuss the learning taken away from this and how it might influence your subsequent approach to practice.
Basically this part illustrates how your learning about the personal experience of a mental health issue will impact upon your future work in practice.

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