Last updated: 28.03.13

Mental health training 'should be mandatory' for social workers

The Royal College of Psychiatrists, the professional and educational body for psychiatrists in the UK, is calling for all social workers to be instructed on mental health, child development issues and child protection as part of mandatory social work training, rather than just for those who specialise in the subject.

This comes as part of a series of recommendations made in a report published on March 26th that gave a framework for how improvements to the quality of care given to mental health patients could be made.

The publication suggested that the Health and Care Professions Council include a mandatory core training program that covers mental health and wellbeing in order for social workers to be able to handle and help patients with mental health issues more effectively.

Further points were made around the General Medical Council, as well as the Nursing and Midwifery Council, who the Royal College of Psychiatrists said needed to looking into how medical and nursing training could be more inclusive of mental health issues while integrating mental and physical health study within undergrad courses.

The chief executive of the Centre for Mental Health, Sean Duggan, stated that an equal view of both mental and physical health is key to making the NHS more efficient and effective, with mental health being an overlooked aspect of healthcare for too long.

He continued: "Today's report sets out some clear objectives and some welcome commitments to putting this right. The disparities we face today require change at every level, from national decisions about how money is spent to the everyday work of health and care professionals."

Social workers who are keen to learn more about caring for patients with mental health illnesses are able to use e-learning provider Virtual College to access anywhere whenever they have spare time, allowing them to pick up key skills and information that can help them in their day-to-day responsibilities.

The wide range of modules available cover topics such as Mental Health, Dementia & Learning Disabilities, and more specific areas like Parental Mental Health – a course designed to increase awareness of the main issues related to mental distress in parents and how this can affect their children.