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Celebrating mental health social workers on World Social Work Day

On World Social Work Day (Tuesday 20 March) social workers come together to celebrate the profession’s achievements.

To mark this event, Think Ahead is highlighting the valuable contribution mental health social workers make – and the impact that social approaches to mental health have on people’s lives.

Think Ahead participants have been profiled in the media, talking about their passion for mental health, and what drew them to train to be social workers. They’ve been explaining how their role is unique, and why it is vital that people with mental health problems are supported to address the social factors in their lives – things like finances, housing, employment and relationships – that all have a profound impact on mental health.

Think Ahead Joint Chief Executive, Ella Joseph, said: “Mental health social workers play an essential role in supporting people with severe mental illness to lead independent and fulfilling lives. World Social Work Day is an opportunity to celebrate the incredible work that they do – and to champion the impact that social interventions can have.”

Think Ahead in the media


Thea, a participant working in Hertfordshire, wrote a piece in the Independent’s Voices section. Her piece explains:  “I was trained to look not just at the individual, but at the importance of the people and communities around them.”

“I look at how to address isolation and loneliness by helping people I’m working with to build support networks, and find something meaningful within their communities. These are the social approaches that can lead to longer lasting recovery.”

Read the full piece on the Independent website

Community Care

Community Care – the leading social care news website – interviewed Jan, a participant working in Southwark, and Nicola, who is the manager (known as a Consultant Social Worker) of a unit of four participants in Bexley.

Jan said: “Social issues can have a massive impact on a person’s mental health and recovery, so whether that’s income, housing or social isolation… By working with people to resolve some of these issues, we can allow them to move on to deal with some other problems they might be having.”

Read the full interview with Nicola and Jan on the Community Care website

Evening Standard

Three of our participants – Suzanne, Arnold and Jan – were featured in the Evening Standard – sharing what inspired them to become mental health social workers.

Suzanne said: “In my opinion, mental health social work is like the missing piece of the puzzle. For years, people with mental health problems have been treated with medical and psychiatric interventions – but there are aspects of a person’s life that these don’t touch. A mental health social worker looks at the whole person, their social circumstances and how it impacts on their mental health. It is these day-to-day aspects of their lives that can make a difference to their long-term recovery.”

Read Suzanne, Arnold and Jan’s article 

The Metro

Sonya, a participant working in London, was featured in the Metro, sharing what a typical week looks like in her job in an Early Intervention in Psychosis team. She said: “I’m often the first person a service user and their family will turn to and that’s what I enjoy about mental health social work. It’s so practical and holistic and we support people in all areas of their lives.”

Read Sonya’s article

*World Social Work Day is an annual celebration of social work organised by the International Federation of Social Workers.