“Thank you to my social worker”
An adult with mental health problems writes about the difference a trainee social worker on the Think Ahead programme has made to her.
I’m in my mid-50s and have had mental health issues most of my life. I have been supported by a number of mental health professionals over the years – some good, some not so good. Last September I was introduced to Fran, one of the first cohort of Think Ahead mental health social workers. She was easy to talk to, and we hit if off straight away.
Fran gave me loads of emotional support – in person, on the phone and by email.
I was due to have major surgery and Fran came every week to help me sort my flat out in preparation for the operation. It was in a bad way but she was more than happy to help, and a considerable amount was achieved in a very short time. The state of the flat didn’t faze her and she showed full respect for me.
Fran also liaised with outside agencies to get my windows repaired and get me some long-term help with the upkeep of my flat. She attended meetings with agency people and advocated with them on my behalf. One of these people happened to be a student social worker herself, but it became clear very quickly that Fran was head and shoulders above her, both in terms of getting things done and in her approach to service users.
Fran gave me loads of emotional support – in person, on the phone and by email. One of the great things we developed was ending emails with funny or topical hashtags. Although a tiny thing, it was fun and helped me through a difficult period in my life. You won’t find this in any textbook, but it demonstrates how Fran could think outside the box (or book!) and use a technique that was personal to me and that worked.
Social workers are often vilified in the media. Fran proves that this need not be the case. Whilst she will obviously develop as she gains experience, she demonstrates that the Think Ahead approach – being chucked in at the deep end with intensive support, training, and supervision – works. I wish her well as a newly qualified social worker and in the years to come. Thank you, Fran.
Are you interested in taking on this important job? Then find out more and apply to the Think Ahead programme.