“It’s a real privilege to be allowed into people’s lives […] It lets us work in a holistic way and actually make a difference.” – participants interviewed in the Guardian
Think Ahead participants Maisie, Levi and Alec have spoken to the Guardian about their experiences working as mental health social workers.
All three were members of our first cohort – who completed the two-year Think Ahead programme at the end of September.
Maisie Satchwell-Hirst (pictured above) is a 23-year-old Cambridge graduate, who works with service users experiencing psychosis. She said: “It’s a real privilege to be allowed into people’s lives and their private spaces. It lets us work in a holistic way and actually make a difference.”
Alec Tooms is also 23 and graduated from Lancaster University in 2016 before joining the programme. He now works in a memory service with people who have cognitive impairments and memory difficulties. He said: “Young people have the opportunity to challenge the status quo. I’ve been supported to pilot new ideas because social work is all about change and adapting to the people we’re working with.”
24-year-old Levi Chambers-Cook worked briefly for a pharmaceuticals recruitment company before joining the programme, and now works in a community mental health team. She said: “You won’t always get a thank you and that isn’t why we do it. In a way, saying goodbye to people and discharging them is our biggest reward.”
The Guardian also spoke to our Co-Chief Executive Natalie Acton, who talked about the growing appetite for working in mental health amongst graduates: “Mental health social work is not a profession which historically people coming straight out of university would’ve known about.” Natalie stated that Think Ahead gets 23 applicants for each place on the programme, “showing there’s a real demand for this kind of work amongst young people.”