The Department of Health has announced an additional £10 million in funding to a scheme training graduates to become social workers in community mental health teams.
The fast-track scheme run by charity Think Ahead aims to recruit 300 graduates by 2018 to work with nurses and psychiatrists.
Graduates will receive specialist training on supporting people with mental health problems and are paid while training on the job; qualifying as social workers a year earlier than normal.
Those who secure a place on the scheme become mental health social workers, working with psychologists, nurses and doctors to support the everyday needs of those with mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, depression and schizophrenia.
The scheme, which opened last year, attracted more than 2,300 applicants for 100 places that start in July and this new government funding will provide money for 200 more places by 2018.
Alistair Burt, Minister for Community and Social Care, said: “Mental health social work is highly skilled, complex work – and this is a great initiative to attract the brightest and best into the profession. Our £10 million funding will spark rewarding careers and mean thousands of people are better supported to lead more independent and fulfilling lives.”
Natalie Acton, Think Ahead’s Joint Chief Executive, said today: “Today’s announcement is fantastic news as it means we can treble the number of talented individuals training as mental health social workers through Think Ahead. I really encourage any graduate with the right blend of empathy, intelligence, resilience, and commitment to apply to Think Ahead this autumn.”
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