Psychiatric Social Work

1522 Words7 Pages
Origins Social work with people with mental illness, known initially as psychiatric social work, began in the 1950s at the six county psychiatric hospitals across Northern Ireland (Herron 1998). These hospitals were administered by the Regional Health Authorities, whilst the new psychiatric social workers were out-posted from the County Welfare Authorities. The introduction of generic social work under the Seebohm reforms into Northern Ireland in 1972 coincided with the establishment of the integrated Health and Social Services Boards (Campbell 1998). The consequent loss of specialist psychiatric social work training courses was much lamented by the psychiatric professions (Barr 2002) The Troubles Major organisational changes took place…show more content…
However, a number of generic policy statements are applicable to all mental health professionals. For example, The Health Policy Implementation Guide (DoH 2001) identifies how new and existing services should be reconfigured in the areas of crisis resolution, assertive outreach and early intervention. It identifies specifications about who the service is for, what it intends to achieve, what the service does, and how the service relates to other services. The recent construction of Mental Health Standards which apply to all professional groups in the field is also an attempt to link policy and practice. A useful attempt to deal with the standards and competences of mental health social work has been carried out by the Australian federal government (AASW 1999). In this document, which emerged after extensive consultation with practitioners, educators, users and carers, six competency standards were identified in the following areas: working with individuals, families, groups and communities; working with systems; social work management; professional practice; and social work evaluation and research. Training It is generally recognised that the current two year qualifying programme for social workers can only deliver limited specialist training (Lowe & Weinstein 2000), however the development of the ASW programme provides a useful framework for understanding statutory functions (Manktelow et al 2002). A number of
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