Report backs use of support workers

health service users consider support workers to be vital to their recovery
according to a report by mental health charity Maca.

The findings suggest that support workers are
more attuned than other professionals to everyday needs such as daily living
skills, coping with physical problems, and managing finances and benefit

However support workers sometimes feel
undervalued and are not always sure of their role especially in counselling and
advocacy. There can also be confusion resulting from overlaps with other mental
health professionals.

Maca chief executive Gil Hitchon welcomed the
evidence that good support work is being done but warned against support
workers and the government proposal for support, time and recovery workers being
integrated into community health teams as assistants to other professionals.

"This will result in a much narrower
focus to their work, to the detriment of service users. Our research shows that
what users value is the whole person, whole life approach that they get from
workers who are allowed to be flexible."

The report recommends an urgent review of the
salary structure, for managers of the different support services to meet
regularly, and for more involvement by service users at every level.

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