Disability and Society
School of Arts and Humanities
This article considers the inclusion of mental health service users’ experiences and perspectives in professional education classrooms. After brief introductions to the authors’ backgrounds, the article discusses professional expertise and knowledge and the accreditation of professional education courses. It then goes on to explore service users’ understandings of mental and emotional distress and the development of Mad Studies, which, at first sight, may appear incompatible with professional education courses. Discussion then turns to the development and trial of a living experience learning resource, which portrays the first author’s knowledge and understanding of having voices. The article concludes by arguing for the inclusion of Mad Studies knowledges in professional education classrooms.Points of interest This article discusses including mental health service users’ experiences and knowledges in professional education classrooms. The article discusses service users’ own understandings of mental and emotional distress and the international development of Mad Studies–the cooperative study of mental health service users’ experiential knowledges. The article also describes how we produced a learning resource (video film) which portrays the first author’s understanding of having or hearing voices. The learning resource was used in research with seven first-year social work students and we found that the students’ understandings of mental illness changed after viewing the resource. Mad Studies offers mental health service users hope and the possibility of change. It is therefore important that Mad Studies knowledges are included in professional education.
Available for download on Thursday, October 22, 2020