Social workers need to change their mindset if services for families with mental health problems are to be improved, says a report by the Social Care Institute for Excellence.
Social workers need to “think differently, view their remit more flexibly and think from a family’s perspective,” said Hugh Constant, a social worker and practice development manager at SCIE.
He said the evaluation report into SCIE’s Think child, think parent, think family project, published today, had a number of key messages for social workers.
“It is helpful to do a joint assessment of both the adult and child. If that’s not possible, both adults and children’s social workers need to make the links across services, get to know people and consider the whole family at the care planning stage,” he said.
Amanda Edwards, SCIE’s deputy chief executive, said the evaluation illustrates “just how much can be done locally to make services better fit the needs of parents with mental health issues”.
“This need not cost a lot – even small changes to working practices and training can make a difference,” she added.
Technical solutions to link up local authority children’s services databases with NHS mental health ones are also needed, the report recommended.
This would, “facilitate joint working on individual cases and extraction of population-level information on numbers and outcomes.”
The report evaluated the work of 10 implementation sites – five local authorities in England and five health and social care trusts across Northern Ireland.
All of the 10 sites have tried to implement recommendations made by SCIE in its original 2009 Think child, think parent, think family guide.
Inform subscribers, find out more:
Social work guide to parental mental health
Extra £22m investment in child mental health services