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Social Work Blog: My Mental Health Social Work Story

Posted by Devon Partnership Trust in News, Social Work on 16th March, 2021

Philip, Social Work Practice and Projects Lead

Today is World Social Work DayTo further promote peoples understanding of the Social Work profession across our organisation, we are launching a Social Work Blog as a place for individuals to discuss/debate social work topics that directly influence practice and the profession, but also as a tool to profile Social Work and Social Workers who are employed across a wide variety of settings within Devon Partnership Trust, from community teams, inpatient settings, forensic services, our dedicated daytime AMHP provision and many more.

And as it was my idea, I thought that starting off by telling my own journey as a social worker might be a good place to begin.

I graduated with a Master’s Degree in Social Work whilst living in Manchester in 2012. Prior to this I worked in a leaving care service and as part of various youth and community work organisations across the Greater Manchester area. I relocated to Devon in 2013 and started working for Devon County Council as a children and family social worker. I became an Assigned Social Worker in Devon Partnership Trust in 2015. Initially I was employed as a Care Co-ordinator in the Honiton Community Mental Health Team, before moving on to a Social Work Practice Lead position across North and Mid Devon in 2017. I spent the next year working alongside my peer Social Work leads in Exeter/East and South/West Devon and our new Head of Professions for Social Work, on the Social Care redesign. This work involved redefining the role of the Assigned Social Worker in the community mental health teams in relation to the statutory duties of the Care Act 2014. I found this practice development work incredibly exciting and fulfilling.

Once we had established the new Social Care service, I was successfully appointed to the role of North and Mid Devon Social Care Team Manager and managed a team of eight Assigned Social Workers across the region for the next couple of years.

After taking some time off in early 2020 to focus on family life (great timing eh?), I returned to Devon Partnership Trust and was afforded the opportunity (partially because of the pressures of COVID) to further expand my interests around practice development and redesign. Over the past number of months I have been involved in work around improving the interface between the social care/social work, across community and inpatient settings. I have also had the opportunity to work alongside colleagues in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and Devon County Council to look at how we can improve our transitions offer for those approaching adulthood in CAMHS services and will continue to pilot an exciting ‘Preparing for Adulthood’ offer with CAMHS and Devon County Council colleagues across the next 12 months, in a new interim role of Social Work Practice and Projects Lead.

The future: Across Devon Partnership Trust, I and other Social Workers are playing an active role in looking at how we transform our services in line with the principles of the new Community Mental Health Framework. through engagement in clinical design and delivery groups; bringing the expertise of strengths based/solution focussed methods of intervention and specifically sharing the knowledge developed through the outreach and partnership working that has taken place over the past few years with the third sector organisations in their localities.

I look forward to continue being a part of championing the social work profession throughout the next 12 months and sharing regular updates.