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“It’s very varied, no two days are the same. You’ve got to be prepared for that challenge.” – Think Ahead participant shares her experience with BBC Radio Somerset

Think Ahead participant Anna-Clare (pictured above) has been interviewed by BBC Radio Somerset about what made her choose to work in mental health, and what her role as a mental health social worker is like.

Anna-Clare joined the Think Ahead programme in 2017, and is now a newly qualified social worker working in Somerset. Before joining the programme, she was an English teacher in a secondary school, where she was also a Year 7 tutor. It was through talking to pupils in her tutor group about mental health problems impacting them and their families that she became inspired to change career to become a mental health social worker.

During the interview, Anna-Clare explained that in her role now, she works with people who have quite severe mental health problems, for example, people who are unable to leave the house, or who have been hospitalised because of their illness. She described her role as: “a very varied job, no two days are the same,” and added: “You’ve got to be prepared for that challenge.”

She also explained that the role “demands a lot of creativity […]. You’ve got to think through problems. You might be dealing with someone who’s in a situation where they don’t have many resources available to them.”

Anna-Clare was also asked about what kind of experience is needed to get into mental health social work. She said: “A lot of the students on my programme came from a variety of backgrounds, a lot of them were from science, maths, politics, history – they’d all done different degrees. So in that sense, there isn’t a degree subject that you have to have done to get into it[…]. It’s very important to have good communication skills, an ability to empathise and I think that’s something that you do develop through your experiences.”

Listen to the full interview here (Anna-Clare starts talking at 38 seconds):

Update: Following her interview with BBC Radio Somerset, Anna-Clare was also interviewed by BBC Radio Wiltshire on 12 April. In the interview, she spoke about some of the attributes mental health social workers need and why social approaches to mental health can add a lot of value to a person’s recovery.

Listen to the full interview on BBC Radio Wiltshire here: