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5th July, 2018

Middlesex wins grant for Mental Health Social Work training


Academics at Middlesex University London have expressed their delight and pride at winning the Think Ahead bid – a government backed national pathway for post-graduate Mental Health Social Work Training.

Professor Carmel Clancy, Head of Department, Mental Health and Social Work at Middlesex University said:

“We are so excited to have the opportunity to work with Think Ahead on this national project to improve the experience of  mental health service users. We believe that the social work profession plays an essential role in the development of mental health services and look forward to progressing this important workforce development initiative in elevating the role of the mental health social worker, who is highly trained and motivated and has excellent knowledge of mental health practice. We look forward to building on the outstanding work of colleagues at York University and the University of Central Lancashire to continue to develop and innovate in social work education.”

The University of York was commended for the delivery of the programme so far and for working closely with academics at Middlesex for a smooth transition.  Work begins at Middlesex immediately to take the programme, which is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care, to its next stage.

Think Ahead praised Middlesex for its track record of innovation in social work teaching, including its Step Up to Social Work course, its role in the successful North London Social Work Teaching Partnership and its accelerated master’s programme. In addition its research profile; such as the national project to assess the effectiveness of the Open Dialogue approach. They were also impressed that Middlesex’s social work and mental health expertise is integrated within one department with a dedicated Co-Production in Mental Health Research Centre, making its approach a perfect fit for the Think Ahead programme.

Think Ahead’s Co-Chief Executive, Natalie Acton, expressed her gratitude to current academic partners and excitement for the future. She said: “We are excited about working with Middlesex University, and the innovation and expertise they will bring to teaching the participants who will join our programme in 2019 and 2020. As we embark on this next phase, we remain hugely grateful to the dedicated and expert professionals from the Universities of York and Central Lancashire who have worked with us to build the programme from scratch. Without them, there would be no Think Ahead programme.”

At the heart of the Think Ahead graduate training programme is the aim to see a society where everyone with mental health problems can flourish. Never before has there been such a need for mental health social workers who can make a vital difference to people’s lives. Mental health is an urgent national issue with research estimating that 38% of all ill-health for the under-65s is caused by mental illness.

To meet this unprecedented need, it is essential to bring people into the profession with the potential to excel, and to give them state of the art training.

Dr Lucille Allain, Associate Professor in Social Work at Middlesex added:

“We are incredibly proud to be part of Think Ahead and to having a lead role in delivering social work education for new trainee social workers who will play a key role in helping to re-shape lives. Think Ahead participants are drawn from diverse backgrounds and bring a range of key attributes as well as academic excellence. The course involves delivery of rigorous academic learning in which participants develop a thorough grounding in essential social work skills and knowledge as well as specialist knowledge and understanding of social work in a mental health setting. The curriculum has a focus on social interventions, co-production and on leadership and equips participants to engage in their work based training in mental health services across the country.”

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