Facilitating discussion and popular areas for discussion
Discussion flows from the responses to the tasks that have been set, however certain areas that form recurrent themes are:
> psychopathology: using actual examples of psychopathology and teasing out what this might mean in terms of a diagnosis
> psychosocial issues: the complexities of how and where care is provided and the ways in which families cope with mental illness
> medication: this often receives quite a negative depiction in literature and this is something that facilitators should be aware of. There are many reasons why this might be the case: perhaps those who write of their experiences are those who are not suffering from the more extreme forms of illness for which medication appears most useful, or perhaps medication is not as beneficial as the profession perceives it to be.
Application of the session to the ‘real world’
The end of the session relates the discussion and what has been learnt to the real world, guided by the aims of the session. To consider one of the examples described above, at the end of our discussion on admissions to mental health wards, we agreed that patients might feel 'bewildered' on their first admission. However, there was also a realisation that many doctors don't acknowledge this when clerking in new patients. It was agreed that students would discuss with nursing staff how they approached the task of reducing the anxieties of new patients. Students felt that the session had impressed upon them the significance of acknowledging the distress that patients might feel on admission and the importance of multi-disciplinary teams.
Providing the opportunity for feedback
Provide the students with an opportunity to give feedback on the session. We have found it useful to gather both qualitative as well as survey-based quantitative data.
Costs and copyright
The sessions are not materially expensive. Costs to be considered are printing if you are planning to distribute copies of the text and teaching costs for any external speakers.
We used PDFs of the relevant pages that we were able to e-mail to the students taking the module. We also ensured that the books considered were available at the university libraries. Another consideration is copyright rules. Wherever there is any doubt it is useful to speak with the university legal service and/or the publisher.