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Implementing Supported Decision-Making in Mental Health Systems and Practice.


   Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education

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  Dr Simon Abbott, Prof Rick Hood  Applications accepted all year round  Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

A key global challenge for mental health systems and practice, involves promoting self-determination for citizens with psycho-social needs. For mental health social work, this includes translating international law imperatives to implement supported decision-making (SDM) into their practice. The core tenet of SDM in mental health involves assisting citizens to make decisions about a range of issues, including care and treatment choices. Subsequently, SDM privileges provision of support for citizens to communicate wishes and feelings to make their own choices, in preference to such decisions made by mental health professionals in a process of substituted decision-making.

On the face of it, the core tenets of SDM appear compatible with the values of social work, such as a commitment to human rights and social justice. However, there are clearly tensions and challenges for social work to operationalise SDM in practice. This includes balancing aspects of care and control with citizens who have psycho-social needs and the wider context of marked inequalities for citizens who experience such needs. Examples of SDM in mental health involve representational support such as a Nominated Person and support to communicate wishes and feelings such as Advance Decisions and Advocacy.

The project aims to develop understanding of how to implement supported-decision making in social work systems and practice, including how systems advocacy might address structural inequalities driving injustices in mental health provision

We welcome PhD applications on similar themes to those proposed. We are committed to creating a workplace that promotes and values diversity. We strongly encourage applications from people from diverse backgrounds including gender identity, race, age, class, and ethnicity.

You will normally need a postgraduate masters degree or a first/upper second class honours degree or equivalent in a subject relevant to your proposed research programme. Please check the relevant faculty's research degrees webpage for specific requirements.


Funding Notes

The Faculty is offering up to four competitively funded studentships in 2021/22. These will include six years of both an annual, part-time, UK stipend at UKRI rate and part-time UK PhD fees, if awarded. Applications will be internally assessed as part of our Centre of Applied Health and Social Care Research studentships competition.
To be considered for this studentship, candidates must apply for this project and have been notified of a conditional/unconditional offer for the Kingston PhD programme to start during the academic year 2021/22.
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