Understanding Mental Health: conditions, caring, and contexts – Social workers and care in the community, Dr Ruth Allen
Social workers have a crucial part to play in improving mental health services and mental health outcomes for citizens. They bring a distinctive social and rights-based perspective to their work. Their advanced relationship-based skills, and their focus on personalisation and recovery, can support people to make positive, self-directed change. Social workers are trained to work in partnership with people using services, their families and carers, to optimise involvement and collaborative solutions. Like community psychiatric nurses, social workers also manage some of the most challenging and complex risks for individuals and society, and take decisions with and on behalf of people within complicated legal frameworks, balancing and protecting the rights of different parties. This includes, but is not limited to, their vital role as the core of the Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) workforce. Social workers are central to the holistic, individualised treatment available to sufferers from mental disorders, which epitomises the goals of modern healthcare provision.
Dr Ruth Allen is Chief Executive of the British Association of Social Workers