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World Mental Health Day: Social work and mental health first aid

It’s World Mental Health Day, and this year’s theme includes Psychological and Mental Health First Aid, bringing to light the importance of supporting people through mental health crises.

For thousands of people who experience a mental health crisis each year, their lifeline isn’t a paramedic or a psychiatrist – it’s their social worker who answers their call and provides the emotional and practical support they need.

To mark the day, we’ve brought together three stories – one from an experienced social worker and two from people who’ve experienced mental health crises themselves – to demonstrate the impact that a social worker can have.

“Being the lifeline that supports someone through a crisis is a wonderful feeling.”

Jacqui, an experienced social worker working with Think Ahead, explains how helping people holistically makes social workers stand out from other professionals in a crisis.

Read Jacqui’s piece

“My social worker gave me hope so that the future was a positive one, even though I was in a dark, negative place.”

Laurie experienced clinical depression after his son was killed in a car accident. He explains how his social worker helped him to rebuild his confidence and communicate with his family.

Read Laurie’s story in full

One of the most significant people I worked with was a social worker. He saw me in hospital and stayed with me for hours. It was he who discovered my abnormal thoughts by actually listening to what I was saying.”

Ziaul lives with Schizoaffective Disorder and was detained after experiencing psychosis – essentially a disconnect from reality. He describes how a social worker helped him to get his illness under control and turn his life around.

Read Ziaul’s story in full