Skip to content
November 2017

A week in the life of a mental health social worker

We asked experienced mental health social workers what a typical week in the role looks like. Here’s what they told us…


  • Spent morning preparing for meeting with Aleisha – a new referral from a GP – checking notes and establishing objectives. Then met her – some challenges establishing rapport, but ultimately it went well.
  • Afternoon – met with Rob. I’ve spent months helping him to come round to the idea he needs to leave his verbally abusive partner (for his long-term mental health), and I’ve lined up a charity to help, but there’s a blocker: he needs to be able to visit his daughter regularly and is reliant on his partner for transport. He seems very down about the situation today – but there’s a funding panel for transport grants on Friday, so hopefully I can help.


  • Held a case consultation meeting about Rob, seeking advice from colleagues, including how to approach funding panel.
  • Then the weekly multi-disciplinary team meeting. Psychiatrist didn’t see a need to do anything for Rob, given there’s no immediate safeguarding risk. Support worker thought we should involve police. But I argued successfully – so I need to prepare for the funding panel.
  • Met other service users in the afternoon – they each seem to be making progress.


  • On crisis duty today. Was going to start planning for funding panel, but crisis cropped up with Jenny, a young girl at risk of ending her life. (Had to rearrange a check-in with another service-user – who is fortunately making good progress.) Crisis resolved by end of the day – informal admission to hospital for short period.


  • Morning – prepared my pitch for the funding panel tomorrow.
  • Afternoon – met Chris, who lives with bipolar disorder. Later, spent time preparing for a tribunal next week regarding another person on my caseload. Had to refresh memory on Mental Health Act!


  •  The funding panel approved my application for Rob’s funding!
  • Called Rob to tell him the good news and he was very appreciative. A great feeling.
  • Just enough time to update case notes before a well-deserved weekend rest. A tough week, but I know I’ve made a difference.


Are you interested in taking on this important job? Then find out more and apply to the Think Ahead programme.