A picture where you can write and draw your map of significant social relations (persons/social groups/political and other actors)
1. What makes social life meaningful for you?
2. What aspects of promoting and empowering mental health do you find in these relations?
During the previous few decades, I have conducted some hundreds thematic interviews with long-term mental health service users for research purposes. When asking them about their dreams and aspirations, the striking, almost law-given first-hand reply has been, that ‘I have never been asked (seriously) about my dreams and aspirations’. Obviously, when not ever being asked, it takes a bit of time to reflect upon one’s future.
Picking one person as an example could be a former psychologist who, by the age of sixty had lived for years in a rehabilitation home. She told me that her dream was ‘to write the story of my life’. Two weeks after the interview, I phoned her and asked her how her writing was proceeding. She asked: ‘did you take my dream seriously?’. ‘Of course, how could I do anything else’, I replied. So, she started her literary journey. Within in a year and a half we were at the inauguration of a book, which included her story. When making a speech in front of a hundred people, she maintained: ‘I hope that my life story can be of use for younger people, maybe to help them avoid some of the obstacles that I had to encounter.’
- What did you learn from reflecting/writing your life story and from mapping your social relationships?
- Does positive mental health make a difference? In which kinds of ways?
- How can you apply what you have learnt in your working and daily lives?
To read and learn more:
Eriksson, Malin; Ghazinour, Mehdi & Hammarström, Anne
Different uses of Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory in public mental health research: what is their value for guiding public mental health policy and practice?
Social Theory & Health 2018-03-14, Vol.16 (4), pp. 414-433.
Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory is appealing as a conceptual tool for guiding public mental health interventions. However, his theory underwent significant changes since its first inception during the late 1970s until his death in 2005, due to which the implications that can be drawn might differ depending on what concepts (i.e. early or later) of the theory is utilized. The aim of this paper was to examine how different concepts of Bronfenbrenner’s theory have been utilized in (public) mental health research, and to analyse the value of these different uses for guiding public mental health policy and practice. A systematic search for articles that have utilized concepts of Bronfenbrenner’s theory within the field of mental health resulted in a review of 16 published papers. Our results show that studies using Bronfenbrenner’s ecological system concepts by clearly considering interactions between and within these systems can result in recommendations that are most useful for guiding public mental health policy and practice.