Students who are service users: integrating dual identities

There is an interesting article in the latest issue of Social Work Education, which will have relevance across the disciplines.

Service user or service provider? How social work and human services students integrate dual identities


Students studying undergraduate social work and human services (SWHS) degrees may have used health and human service agencies, before and during their university education. Using services provides them with insights that are useful for professional practice. However, this article identifies that they experience a fear of shame and stigma revealing this during their studies. In examining interview data from 15 undergraduate SWHS students they recounted how they integrated their experience of being a service user into their professional development. It is argued that insider knowledge of services can provide them with valuable insights for practice. Students spoke about how positive experiences motivated them to study and provided models of effective practice, exemplifying its potential power to assist those in need. Negative experiences of service use can also be beneficial for learning what ‘not to do’. Although students found the experience of service use invaluable, they felt it was never acknowledged within the curriculum. Consequently, students interviewed in this study identified service users as ‘others’. They feared disclosing their own use of services due to perceived shame and stigma. Failing to provide opportunity for students to integrate their service user experience into their professional development creates a false dichotomy which does not acknowledge the intersection of these dual identities.

Service user or service provider? How social work and human services students integrate dual identities
Students studying undergraduate social work and human services (SWHS) degrees may have used health and human service agencies, before and during their university education. Using services provides them with insights that are useful for professional practice. However, this article identifies that they experience a fear of shame and stigma revealing this during their studies. In examining interview data from 15 undergraduate SWHS students they recounted how they integrated their experience of being a service user into their professional development. It is argued that insider knowledge of services can provide them with valuable insights for practice. Students spoke about how positive experiences motivated them to study and provided models of effective practice, exemplifying its potential power to assist those in need. Negative experiences of service use can also be beneficial for learning what ‘not to do’. Although students found the experience of service use invaluable, they felt it was never acknowledged within the curriculum. Consequently, students interviewed in this study identified service users as ‘others’. They feared disclosing their own use of services due to perceived shame and stigma. Failing to provide opportunity for students to integrate their service user experience into their professional development creates a false dichotomy which does not acknowledge the intersection of these dual identities.

LINK

Views: 31

Comment by Jill Anderson on July 21, 2017 at 14:15

Any suggestions for other reading on this topic?

Here is one article: Wood, H., Lea, L. & Holttum, S., (2013). Finding the personal in the clinical psychology swamp. Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, 8(1), pp.15–25. 

Add a Comment

You need to be a member of Mental Health in Higher Education Hub to add comments!

Join Mental Health in Higher Education Hub

Blog Posts

Drayton Park women's crisis house - interview with Shirley McNicholas

Posted by Jill Anderson on November 24, 2017 at 16:21 0 Comments

Drayton Park women’s crisis house in North London offers an alternative to hospital admission for women experiencing mental health crises. It was Shirley McNicholas’ vision that brought it into existence and she has been leading the service since it opened.  As it approaches its twentieth anniversary in December, she talks to Anne Cooke.…

Continue

Qualitative conversations - Alec Grant

Posted by Jill Anderson on November 23, 2017 at 17:20 0 Comments

In this episode Alec talks about collaborative autoethnography, hyphen identities and the importance of telling stories that challenge the dominant narrative about mental illness. He shares some ideas about why different writing strategies are important, how to become a better storyteller and the need to write from different perspectives.

View the film

Oppressed majority - film

Posted by Jill Anderson on November 23, 2017 at 9:57 0 Comments

This film may be useful for triggering discussion about how sexism affects mental wellbeing. 

On what seems to be just another ordinary day, a man is exposed to sexism and sexual violence in a society ruled by women... (10 minutes)

View the film

Enhancing student wellbeing: a handbook for academic educators

Posted by Jill Anderson on November 22, 2017 at 19:51 0 Comments

This handbook offers research-based guidance for academic teachers and leaders – as the drivers of innovation in university teaching and learning – to understand how and why particular curriculum choices or pedagogical approaches might support or undermine the psychological needs and academic outcomes of university students. By providing easily adaptable and transferable ideas for designing curriculum and assessment, and by fostering teaching and learning practices that support student…

Continue

Croatia: out of institutions, into the world

Posted by Jill Anderson on November 19, 2017 at 20:00 0 Comments

More than 8,200 people with intellectual or psychosocial disabilities in Croatia remain in segregated institutions and psychiatric hospitals with little control over decisions that affect their lives, Human Rights Watch said. While the Croatian government has made some progress in protecting the rights of people with disabilities, the process of moving people out of institutions and into community-based living arrangements has been limited and slow. In a video released by Human Rights Watch,…

Continue

1000 conversations: speaking out on mental health

Posted by Jill Anderson on November 18, 2017 at 12:34 0 Comments

Stories of people with lived experience of mental health difficulties - shared on the Centre for Mental Health website. 

View the stories

Quality in Undergraduate Education: How Powerful Knowledge Disrupts Inequality

Posted by Jill Anderson on November 18, 2017 at 12:00 0 Comments

Globally, the appetite for higher education is great, but what do students and societies gain? Quality in Undergraduate Education foregrounds the importance of knowledge acquisition at university. Many argue that university education is no longer a public good due to the costs incurred by students who are then motivated by the promise of lucrative employment rather than by studying a discipline for its own sake. McLean, Abbas and Ashwin, however, reveal a…

Continue

International Institute for Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal

Posted by Jill Anderson on November 18, 2017 at 11:55 0 Comments

'The International Institute for Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal (IIPDW) was created to respond to a glaring need in mental health: to develop ways for helping people withdraw from psychiatric drugs.

Mental health has failed to provide support to people who want to reduce or withdraw from their psychiatric drugs. Often, people are simply told it is a bad idea, and thus are left to try to reduce or withdraw without the support they need.

Indeed, psychiatric drugs have been…

Continue

Life of the Mind Interrupted: essays on mental health and disability in higher education

Posted by Jill Anderson on November 18, 2017 at 11:43 0 Comments

The essays in this book cover topics such as disclosure of disabilities, accommodations and accessibility, how to be a good abled friend to a disabled person, the trigger warnings debate, and more. Written for a popular audience, for those with disabilities and for those who want to learn more about living a disabled life, Life of the Mind Interrupted aims to make higher education, and the rest of our society, more humane.…

Continue

All is not well - comics about care

Posted by Jill Anderson on November 17, 2017 at 17:30 0 Comments

I See You is about a girl being cared for by her father after being discharged from psychiatric hospital. The father cares emotionally and practically. He stays present in response to the girl’s anger and despair and tries metaphorically to give the girl her childhood back.

Read the comic

© 2017   Created by Jill Anderson.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service