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July 2016

Week one at the Summer Institute

Today marks the end of week one of Think Ahead’s Summer Institute – the six-week residential where our participants receive an intensive grounding in mental health social work, before they start training on-the-job in community mental health teams in September.

Throughout this first week, participants have had an introduction to social work and mental health services, including more in-depth learning on depression, anxiety, psychosis, and bipolar disorder.

The Institute was kicked off on Monday morning by Think Ahead’s Joint Chief Executives Ella Joseph and Natalie Acton, where Ella remarked: “Strengthening mental health social work is something that can really transform people’s lives.” Participants then attended an opening ceremony on Monday evening.

Teaching at the Institute is being led by academic experts from the University of York and the University of Central Lancashire. Our Academic Lead, Professor Martin Webber, welcomed participants to the programme and told them that “social workers are able to offer something really unique”.

Whatever you do with your social work career, give people hope.

Laurie, mental health service user

This week’s teaching included sessions from Lyn Romeo, the Chief Social Worker for Adults, and Ruth Allen, who is Chief Executive of British Association of Social Workers and a member of Think Ahead’s board. Participants also listened to talks from two service users about their experiences with mental health social workers. One of the service users, Laurie, advised them: “Whatever you do with your social work career, give people hope.”

Over the next five weeks participants will continue their training, including learning about working with other professionals, developing leadership and communication skills, and the legal aspects of social work.

We will be reporting on the institute each week, and you can follow our live updates on Twitter using #ThinkAheadSI.