The event was attended by journalists, politicians, and leaders from the NHS, Local Authorities and charities. It included remarks from Think Ahead’s Chair, Professor Dame Carol Black, Trustee, Rt Hon Norman Lamb MP, and Joint Chief Executives, Ella Joseph and Natalie Acton.
Norman Lamb MP talked about the importance of social work in supporting people with mental illness: “It means looking at the whole person, defending their human rights and treating them with dignity and compassion.”
He also described meeting Think Ahead participants: “They are a group of immensely impressive people. What you see is they’re determined to make a difference. The value they can add is incalculable.”
Guests also heard from participants from our 2016 intake (who have just entered their second year of the programme and are now newly qualified social workers), and from members of staff who have worked with participants in our partner organisations.
2016 participant Jack Buckler described one service user he’d been working with: “He was a guy in his early 30s, he’d just come out of psychiatric hospital […]. It’s a real privilege to be allowed into someone’s house, and to talk to them and get to understand them. Being able to discharge him [several months later] was one of the best feelings. The social interventions do work, and it really did help to improve his quality of life.”
As well as celebrating what has been achieved so far, the event looked to the future and ways that we aim to grow our impact, including:
Continuing to improve the diversity of our recruits.
Building the evidence base for best practice in mental health social work.
Spreading our learning across all services and training providers.
Establishing a network for our participants following their completion of the programme.
We are seeking partnerships to support our plans for growing our impact. If you are interested in working with us, contact our Joint Chief Executive Ella Joseph on firstname.lastname@example.org.