Social workers’ role in mental health ‘misunderstood’, survey finds

The research was carried out by Think Ahead, the graduate fast-track training scheme for mental health social work

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The role of social workers in mental health services is “greatly misunderstood” by the public, according to research published by fast-track social work training scheme Think Ahead.

A survey of over 1000 British adults found only a third (33%) knew social workers were involved in deciding whether someone should be detained under the Mental Health Act. Social workers who are qualified as Approved Mental Health Professionals lead on this work.

Respondents were also asked what types of support social workers are able to offer people with mental health problems. “Assessing people’s practical needs” came top with 65%.

This was followed by “talking about broader concerns and worries” (52%) and “ensuring authorities comply with mental health legislation” (51%). Less than half of the survey respondents (48%) knew social workers can also provide talking therapies, help to find accommodation (47%) or get funding for people in financial difficulty as part of their role (43%).

The findings also suggested that social workers are being confused with home care workers, who provide domestic support for daily tasks. More than a quarter of people surveyed thought social workers provided either personal care, childcare or did jobs like cooking and cleaning.

Lyn Romeo, the chief social worker for adults, said: “Empowering individuals, families and communities to use their strengths to bring about positive change is a key and inspiring part of social work. As this report demonstrates, there is still more to do to communicate the crucial role of social workers, which is why I will continue to champion the work they do.”

The research was carried out by ComRes for Think Ahead to mark World Social Work Day.


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2 Responses to Social workers’ role in mental health ‘misunderstood’, survey finds

  1. Tom Wintringham March 23, 2017 at 10:04 pm #

    On the encouragement of the Department of Work and Pensions, pliable GPs are disgracefully refusing to write sick notes for their sick patients, which is giving the DWP the pretext they want to deny claimants their sickness benefits even when they can’t work – leaving ill people utterly destitute.

    The DWP have recruited NHS GPs with a neo-Nazi lie “work makes you healthy”- which is a version of old Nazi slogan – “Arbeit macht frei” – “Work sets you free”.

    The real intention is that the DWP’s army of Josef Mengele GPs are to impose a policy of “if you can’t work, you will be left to die”.

    Is the compassionate NHS GP service we once knew now dead?

    Or are there still some compassionate GPs out there who are ready to offer a nation-wide sick-note service to all who need it – a service all can turn to in their hour of need when their local GPs have sold them out to the DWP?

  2. Dominic March 29, 2017 at 5:48 pm #

    Alas I know this feeling all to well…. We do a vital pivotal role in society, yet remain hated, vilified and blamed for failing Services under extreme unprecedented pressures.