TCSWThere is a need for a clearly defined role for social work within adult mental health services, a new report which has the backing of Care and Support Minister, Norman Lamb has revealed.

The call was made by The College of Social Work (TCSW) in its paper, The Role of the Social Worker in Adult Mental Health Services, which outlines the unique contribution that adult mental health social workers bring to improving services for service users. 

The paper proposes 5 defined areas of specialism and responsibility where specialist social work can help deliver on key priorities. These are: access to statutory care, promoting recovery, intervening in situations of high complexity or risk, promoting community capacity and fully utilising the professional leadership provided by approved mental health professionals.

It also details how these target areas should be used to shape social work education, professional development and leadership in all adult mental health settings.

In a foreword to the report Lamb wrote: “Social work is crucial to delivering and maintaining excellent mental health services. Good quality social work can transform the lives of people with mental health conditions and is an essential part of multidisciplinary and multiagency working.”

Dr Ruth Allen, chair of TCSW mental health faculty and author of the report, said: “As we move towards more integrated and diverse models of mental health care social work has a crucial part to play in service improvement.  Social workers’ advanced relationship based skills and focus on personalisation and recovery can be hugely successful in supporting people with mental health conditions to make positive steps towards change and recovery. 

“We believe that social workers can change the whole mental health system for the better if they have clear roles and are well led, confident in their practice and empowered to deliver on these priorities.”

To read the report, click here.