Psycho-Social: An Introduction to Community Psychology

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As we recover from COVID-19, we recognise the incredibly important role our communities have played in ensuring people have food, emotional support, and social connection during lockdown. 

Yet our experience of community and the experiences of communities are often overlooked in how we make sense of wellbeing and mental distress in society. As a counterpoint to individualised notions of ‘mental health’, community psychology forefronts justice, equity, and context in its practice. Practitioners work in partnership with marginalised communities to transform social and community conditions to benefit collective wellbeing and prevent mental distress. 

This webinar will provide an introduction to some core theories and approaches of community psychology and how to apply it to the new economies movement. 


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  • An introduction to some theories, approaches and values of community psychology including ecological systems, community capitals framework, and participatory action research
  • How community psychology differs from mainstream psychology including overview of the social, community, and economic determinants of psychological health and the impact of inequalities 
  • Working with marginalised communities - one approach is participatory action research. Introduction to participatory action research - an overview
  • ‘Take Back the Power’: Case example of participatory action research with young people 
  • Potential application of community psychology theories and approaches in new economies, including participatory action research

  • A broader understanding of people in context which contrasts with individualistic notions of ‘mental health and wellbeing’
  • How psychological health links to new economies
  • A method for coproducing action & research with marginalised communities
  • Ideas for how and why the new economies movement might implement these approaches

  • Researchers
  • Those working for NGOs, community groups, think tanks
  • Health workers and activists, public health practitioners, practitioners working with young people or marginalised communities
  • Policymakers

Lita is a youth worker and Participatory Action Research (PAR) facilitator. She is a co-founder of Take Back the Power, a youth social action project in which young people are paid as PAR researchers to share stories of injustice and take action together. Lita learned about PAR through working with Skills Network, a radical women's cooperative based in South London.


Eden was a Youth Researcher on Take Back the Power from 2018-2019. She was a key collaborator on their 2019 call to action entitled: Insiders Looking Out: Solutions To Youth Violence From Young People Who Have Lived It and continues to support the team as a spokesperson, advocate and on social media. She is also studying Human Geography at Reading University.

Sally Zlotowitz is a Clinical & Community Psychologist & Director of Public Health & Prevention at the excluded youth mental health charity, MAC-UK. She is a Co-founder of Psychologists for Social Change. @SallyZlotowitz

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