Sociology is a core topic for all trainee health professionals, but many struggle to get to grips with it and to see what sociology has to offer. Based on years of experience teaching sociology to health care students, Lani Russell has written a truly introductory text which explains the main sociological concepts without jargon or becoming too advanced. Using carefully chosen examples, she shows how health issues are influenced by social phenomena such as class, race or sexuality and the relevance this has for practitioners.

Mental Health

Mental health

Key Issues

  • Mental health involves social and psychological as well as biological factors
  • The vulnerability of people to emotional distress reflects their experiences across the whole course of their lives
  • Adversity is the major threat to mental health


Chapter 1 discussed the biomedical approach to human health. It was suggested there that this approach, whilst offering a more scientific framework, tends to neglect the psychological and social aspects of human beings. Problems of the mind lie most obviously at the frontier between our biological lives and our cultural lives as members of society. The ‘common sense’ view of mental disorders today is that they are the result of a breakdown in the ‘nerve centre’ of our body ‘machine’ – the brain. That is, mental ill ...

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