In the past week I have read The Guardian online daily ….lots of Brexit, yet more evidence of structural inequalities (Grenfell, Windrush, gender pay gaps) a worrying lack of CO2 which isn’t just affecting beer sales it is also going to halt the supply of crumpets!
And I read the House of Commons Briefing paper on the implementation of the new Social Work Regulator, Social Work England (House of Commons Library Briefing Paper, NumberCBP07802, 22ndJune 2018). This provides an outline of the current social work reform agenda and the move to a new national regulator for England. It provides a summary of the consultation responses received so far and also sets the scene for the introduction of Social Work England.
And a Children’s Society report on mental health issues for young unaccompanied minors (‘Distress Signals: Unaccompanied young people’s struggle for mental health care’, June 2018, The Children’s Society). The research identified a number of key working practices that have helped to provide holistic support for unaccompanied young people, to improve their mental health.
- More comprehensive tools for assessing mental health need.
- Services that are better connected with young people’s communities.
- More effective leadership within support services to ensure that all agencies are communicating about young people’s needs.
- Targeted training to improve awareness and identification of need among the professionals that are working most closely with young people.
- Creating centres of excellence to share learning and good practice.
- Ensuring that young people are linked in with high quality advocacy services.
- Providing a range of adaptable resources to allow young people to communicate their mental health needs.
This report makes recommendations to a number of key stakeholders on a national and local level in order to:
- Improve mental health assessments for unaccompanied young people
- Improve knowledge and awareness of good practice support
- Provide independent guardians
- Improve complex and traumatising immigration and asylum processes
- Ensure that holistic support is also available for young people that are arriving to be reunited with family members through the Dublin III process.
And finally…the latest Kings Fund Report (‘The Role of Cities in improving population health’ International Insights, June 2018). Improving population health involves thinking beyond the health care system itself. All aspects of our lives and communities affect our health, including employment, education, housing, leisure opportunities, social relationships and public infrastructure. This report concludes: City governments and their partners are well placed to co-ordinate cross-sectoral activities; create an environment that fosters innovation; mobilise communities to pursue citizen-led improvement; and to use regulatory levers and planning powers to create health promoting environments.
Maybe it’s just me….but I managed to connect all these pieces. Structural inequalities need people and communities to work together, unaccompanied young people need services, people and communities to work together to identify issues and create solutions, and people and communities can support health improvements on a city-wide scale. Can the new regulator create a new possibility for social work? Or will it be more of the same in a different guise?
I’m off now in search of crumpets……
Felicity Shenton – Project Manager, NESWA