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Social Work Professional Support Service Launched

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A free peer support service has been launched for social workers across Scotland, as practitioners across the country continue to feel pressures working during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Social Work Professional Support Service is designed by and for social workers to support and be supported by colleagues from the profession. The service offers social workers a space to talk and think through any personal or professional issues they may be facing, with a trained volunteer coach who is also a social worker. Social workers who want to support their peers can also volunteer to become coaches themselves, and they receive training in coaching and mentoring.  

The launch comes as findings from a national health and wellbeing survey by the Social Workers’ Benevolent Trust finds an overwhelming number of social workers are struggling with their mental health. Three quarters of respondents describe themselves as emotionally and mentally exhausted. Of these, 17 per cent say they’re struggling to cope and 58.7 per cent ‘just about coping’. Seventy per cent say they have worried about their mental health, while one in five had to take time off work with stress. 

As a result of the pressure of working during the pandemic, nearly a quarter – 24 per cent – have sought professional help for their mental health.  Nearly one in ten – 8.5 per cent – have tested positive for COVID-19 themselves and 15.6 per cent have lost a family member or relative due to the virus. 

The Social Work Professional Support is being funded by the Scottish Government and delivered by the Scottish Association of Social Work, in partnership with Strengthening Practice, a relational social care training company with a proven history in coaching and support.  

Iona Colvin, Chief Social Work Adviser to the Scottish Government said: “The Scottish Government is delighted to fund this vital service to social workers across the country. The service offers an essential space for social workers at any stage of their career to talk and think through issues, with a fellow social worker who understands the challenges faced by the social work community. We hope that this will help to fill a gap for social workers across Scotland, as we continue to navigate our way through and out of the pandemic.” 

Jacqueline Kerr, Assistant Chief Officer for Adult Services and North West Locality Operations and Interim Chief Social Work Officer, Glasgow City HSCP said: “I’m very pleased that this support service has now been launched for social workers across the country. This will give our staff in Glasgow the opportunity to be able to give and receive support about personal and professional matters. I would encourage all staff who wish to, to take advantage of this new service and I see it as an additional support for our staff who offer a very important service to Glasgow citizens.”

Social workers can sign up for support online, or to support their colleagues by volunteering to become a coach, by visiting www.basw.co.uk/social-work-professional-support-service
 

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