Think Ahead’s first conference – Mental health social work in 2021
We were delighted to be joined by over 350 delegates this week at our first ever conference, Think Ahead presents: Mental health social work in 2021. The event offered a rare opportunity to focus on the vital role frontline mental health social workers play in driving and responding to change.
Our broad range of speakers brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to the virtual table. Academics, policy makers, people with lived experience of mental health problems and mental health social workers all gave insightful contributions to some very relevant discussions.
From the response to Covid-19 and digital innovation, to how we achieve anti-racist practice, panellists shared balanced and honest views about the opportunities and pressures facing the system in 2021.
In her opening remarks Dr Ruth Allen, Chief Executive of the British Association of Social Workers and Think Ahead trustee, spoke of the valuable heritage social workers had in protecting people’s rights and raising the voice of some of the most marginalised people in our society.
The scene was set for motivating and reaffirming panel discussions, Q&As and workshops, addressing key topics of social workers’ everyday practice.
Food for thought
The conference proved that the passion and determination in our sector is as strong now as it has ever been. The level of engagement and subsequent feedback received was so positive, we look forward to continuing to facilitate more knowledge sharing forums in our collective efforts to empower the people we are working with every day.
Recordings of the event available online
For anyone unable to join us on the day or wishing revisit the morning’s discussions, videos are available on our YouTube channel.
Subtitles can be switched on YouTube, simply select the “CC” (closed-captions) button on the bottom right of the video.
Opening remarks – Ella Joseph, Chief Executive Think Ahead, and Dr Ruth Allen, Chief Executive of the British Association of Social Workers and Think Ahead trustee.
How is mental health social work changing in response to covid-19 and digital innovation?
Panel chaired by Martin Webber, Professional Lead for Social Work at the University of York, with:
- Arnold Thornton-Rice, mental health social worker.
- Hameed Khan, Member of Think Ahead’s Service User and Carer Reference Group and Expert by experience.
- Jan-Michael McIntosh, Chief Executive of knack and mental health social worker.
- Mark Trewin, Mental Health Social Work Lead, Deptartment of Health and Social Care.
How do we achieve anti-racist practice in mental health social work?
Panel chaired by Cherie Carlton, Senior lecturer (in practice) Social Work at Middlesex University, with:
- Jacqueline Bell, Lead Practice Specialist at Think Ahead.
- Karen Linde, Social Work for Better Mental Health Lead and Social Care Workforce Race Equality Standard Project Team.
- LaReo Riviere, Senior Social Worker, AMHP and Best Interests Assessor.
- Renée Aleong, PhD student in the Department of Social Policy and Social Work at the University of York.
Closing remarks – with Ella Joseph, Chief Executive Think Ahead.
Workshops were also held but run as an open forum and therefore not recorded. The topics covered were:
- Co-producing change in multidisciplinary teams – facilitated by Ali Gardener Director of Head, Heart, Hands in Practice & Rebecca Regler Member of Think Ahead’s Service User and Carer Reference Group and Expert by experience.
- Overcoming cultural barriers in mental health social work – developed and facilitated by Kuldip Kaur Kang, Think Ahead mental health social worker, Moramay Nunez-Trejos, Member of Think Ahead’s Service User and Carer Reference Group and Expert by experience and Alexia Fenwick, Think Ahead Practice Specialist.