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The role of the social worker in adult mental health services

Author:
ALLEN Ruth
Publisher:
College of Social Work
Publication year:
2014
Pagination:
39
Place of publication:
London

This paper examines how social work can play a role in improving adult mental health services and achieve better service user, family and community outcomes. It proposes five key areas of practice that should frame the deployment and development of social workers in adult mental health. Under each heading specialist capabilities can be developed which are further described in the main document. The five key areas are: enabling citizens to access the statutory social care and social work services and advice to which they are entitled, discharging the legal duties and promoting the personalised social care ethos of the local authority; promoting recovery and social inclusion with individuals and families; intervening and showing professional leadership and skill in situations characterised by high levels of social, family and interpersonal complexity, risk and ambiguity; working co-productively and innovatively with local communities to support community capacity, personal and family resilience, earlier intervention and active citizenship; and leading the Approved Mental Health Professional workforce. (Edited publisher abstract)

Book Full text available online for free

Making the difference together: guidance on gathering and using feedback about the experience of social work from people who use services and their carers

Authors:
ALLEN Ruth, et al
Publisher:
Great Britain. Department of Health
Publication year:
2016
Pagination:
48
Place of publication:
London

One of a suite of three resources published as part of the ‘Social Work for Better Mental Health’ initiative, this document provides guidance on practical ways to gather service user and carer feedback about their experiences of social work practice within mental health services. The guidance is based on research into what service users and carers value and find effective in social work practice; research literature on service user quality of life indicators and recovery measures; practice feedback tools from social work education and patient satisfaction surveys from general and mental health. It proposes two specific approaches to gathering feedback: implementing a tailored ‘experience of social work’ feedback questionnaire; and gathering feedback through collaborative conversations about practice between social workers and people using services or carers. The collaborative conversations approach includes good practice in using co-production as a framework, recording conversations and using observer, the role of peer support. The reasons for choosing these approaches and how they fit into existing regulatory requirements and good practice are discussed. Example questionnaires are included in the appendices.. (Edited publisher abstract)

Book Full text available online for free

Social work for better mental health: a strategic statement

Authors:
ALLEN Ruth, et al
Publisher:
Great Britain. Department of Health
Publication year:
2016
Pagination:
17
Place of publication:
London

One of a suite of three resources published as part of the ‘Social Work for Better Mental Health’ initiative, this document provides an overview of the strategic place and importance of social work in mental health services. It highlights the specific skills and knowledge social workers have and how they are ideally placed to support people with mental health problems. The five role categories from The College of Social Work paper ‘The role of the social work in adult mental health’, published in 2014, are referred to throughout to show how they can address strategic challenges and opportunities. Sections discuss the: state of mental health services today; statutory social work; inclusion, rights and citizenship; the role of Approved Mental Health Professionals; prevention and wellbeing across communities; and the importance of getting the organisational context right for social work. (Edited publisher abstract)

Book Full text available online for free

How are we doing? A self-assessment and improvement resource to help social care and health organisations develop the role and practice of social workers in mental health

Authors:
ALLEN Ruth, et al
Publisher:
Great Britain. Department of Health
Publication year:
2016
Pagination:
36
Place of publication:
London

One of a suite of three resources published as part of the ‘Social Work for Better Mental Health’ initiative, this resource provides an organisational and workforce self-assessment and improvement tool tailored for social workers working in mental health settings. Social workers could be based within integrated health and social care services, or in social work-only services within local authorities. As an improvement tool it provides a framework to explore and identify issues from different perspectives, including those of people using services and their families, and to help organisations and staff make changes. It supports the implementation of the five role categories for mental health social work recommended in 'The role of the social worker in adult mental health, published by the College of Social Work in 2014. It covers social work role clarity, role clarity from an organisational and systems perspective, professional practice, leadership and ambition. The resource aims to be complementary to other tools and frameworks promoting good practice in workforce support and development in social work. The ‘Social Work for Better Mental Health’ initiative aims to improve social work across the mental health sector and to make sure the value of social work in improving mental wellbeing is recognised. (Edited publisher abstract)

Journal article Full text available online for free

Integration under threat

Authors:
ALLEN Ruth, BARCHAM Claire
Journal article citation:
Community Care, 27.10.11, 2011, p.26.
Publisher:
Reed Business Information

Highlights the benefits social work has brought to NHS mental health teams. The article stresses the importance of providing professional leadership support social workers within the mental health teams to enable integrated services to work effectively.

Journal article

Rough times

Authors:
ALLEN Ruth, JONES Stephen
Journal article citation:
Nursing Times, 16.9.98, 1998, pp.29-30.
Publisher:
Nursing Times

In the wake of a new government report on rough sleeping, the authors examine the potential consequences.

Journal article

Receiving support when older: what makes it OK?

Authors:
ALLEN Ruth E.S., WILES Janine L.
Journal article citation:
Gerontologist, 54(4), 2014, pp.670-682.
Publisher:
Gerontological Society of America

Community-dwelling childless older people (n = 38, aged 63–93) were interviewed about their experiences and expectations of support, as they comprise a group “at risk” of lack of support. Responses were analyzed within a narrative gerontology framework of positioning theory as to how receiving support was “positioned” and how it related to growing older. Participants defined support in widely diverse ways; it was not a straightforward concept. Receiving support could be warranted by particular circumstances such as illness, made acceptable by the qualities of the support giver, and/or by being part of reciprocal exchanges across time. Support receiving was resisted when associated with difficult interpersonal dynamics or assumptions of incapacity. It was also in tension with preferred positions of being “independent” or of needing “no support.” Participants positioned “oldness” negatively and as both equivalent to the need for support and as a potential outcome of being a support receiver. The research shows that support can be hard to define and hard to receive. Needs assessors and researchers asking “Do you have enough support?” need to consider how support is positioned to better target appropriate help. Assumptions about at-risk groups can be misleading; many childless participants had a lifetime of self-support or an intentionally developed “web of contacts” at a size that suited them, even if they looked unsupported to others. (Edited publisher abstract)

Journal article

Resilience: thoughts on the value of the concept for critical gerontology

Authors:
WILD Kirsty, WILES Janine L., ALLEN Ruth E.S.
Journal article citation:
Ageing and Society, 33(1), 2013, pp.137-158.
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press

This article examines the utility of the concept of resilience to the field of critical gerontology. It examines the history of the concept of resilience; explores some of the diverse ways that gerontologists are attempting to apply it to later life; and discusses the strengths and weaknesses of using resilience as a conceptual framework within critical ageing research. Ways of conceptualising resilience and ageing are also suggested, highlighting the different scales of resilience that impact on the ability of older people to negotiate adversity, and some key areas of resilience relevant to later life. The example of mobility resilience is used to illustrate how different scales of resilience operate within an area of resilience central to the ageing experience. Finally, some key principles for the use of resilience within critical gerontology are outlined, providing guidance on how to maximise the potential of the concept whilst avoiding some of the limitations associated with its historical usage. (Edited publisher abstract)

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