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August 2016

“Sharing our experiences in order to do something positive” – Summer Institute 2016 comes to an end

Today Think Ahead’s inaugural Summer Institute ends. Our first cohort of participants are readying themselves to move into community mental health teams for 12 months of on-the-job learning starting in September, and this week’s teaching has included a focus on preparing for entering the workplace.

My favourite thing about the Summer Institute has been bringing in so many perspectives from different people

Deborah, 2016 participant

Our 2016 intake has experienced a wide range of teaching approaches over the past six weeks, including a blend of lectures, practice skills sessions, group work, and assessments, all geared to ensuring they are well-prepared to support people who rely on mental health services.

The teaching has been led by a variety of experts, including academics, practitioners, service leaders, and people with lived experience of mental illness. “My favourite thing about the Summer Institute has been bringing in so many perspectives from different people on a similar issue,” said participant Deborah Waller. “It’s been interesting to see psychiatrists, nurses, psychologists, [mental health] service users, police all coming in and having a different view on the same issue.”

Other participants have highlighted the benefits of living and working together for six weeks. “A highlight of the Summer Institute was definitely meeting the whole cohort and getting to know all these motivated, like-minded people,” said Rose Liddell. “Sharing our experiences in order to do something positive and help others has confirmed for me that this is something I want to do. I’m excited to start working with my unit [of four participants led by a Consultant Social Worker] and being able to apply what we’ve learnt to real-life situations.”

The Summer Institute drew to a close with one final interactive leadership session (pictured above) focusing on the role that strong communication can play in effecting change in the workplace.

You can read more about what happened at the 2016 Summer Institute in our weekly highlights:

  • Week One – which included an introduction to social work and mental health services.
  • Week Two – including learning about human rights.
  • Week Three – including a focus on leadership skills.
  • Week Four – including safety assessments.
  • Week Five – including communication skills and ensuring social work perspectives are valued.