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Critically discuss the methods social workers can use to promote adults with mental health issues and carers’ well-being in the current policy context.

The assignment for Patch Two

Critically discuss the methods social workers can use to promote adults with mental health issues and carers’ well-being in the current policy context.

Your Patch should address Learning Outcomes 3 and 4:

3. Evaluate the policy context which frames social workers’ capacity to promote the well-being of vulnerable people.

4. Critically discuss the methods social workers can use to address social inequalities in health and promote well-being. 

There are two main parts to the Patch:

 A discussion of the policy context of current social work practice.

 A critical discussion of the methods social workers can use to promote service users’ and carers’ well-being.

What you write in this patch should follow on from what you have discussed in Patch

One in two ways:

1) Broadly you can group policies into two types:

a) General policies which influence the general context of practice. For example, ‘Austerity’, the government’s drive to reduce public spending.

b) Policies specific to Social Work and Service User Groups; e.g. the Children’s Act 1989.

2) This is can be a very wide area so be selective: discuss policies which are most relevant to your topic/service user group.

3) Describe the relevant aspects of policies and be critical. In particular do not accept at face value the claims governments make for their policies. Rather give

a balanced assessment, informed by relevant sources.

4) Because its effects are so pervasive in social care, in terms of increasing need, cuts in services and tightening eligibility criteria, you should include some discussion of ‘Austerity’. Critically discuss the methods social workers can use to promote adults with mental health issues and carers’ well-being in the current policy context.

5) Two aspects of the policy context you should consider are:

a) That there are often contradictions between apparently progressive policies (e.g. around improving access to, and the quality of services) and the impact of cuts which have the opposite effect.

b) Similarly much of the discourse around welfare reform can be seen as portraying service users as undeserving and, to that extent, might serve to compound the problems of inequality.

1. What methods you discuss should be linked to the problems of inequality, etc. Service users, whose health and wellbeing is damaged by social inequalities tend to:

 Lack power and autonomy;

 Be socially isolated/excluded.

2. So you should discuss ways in which social workers can address these problems. This can include general approaches (e.g. empowerment and antioppressive practice) and more specific methods such as solution focussed, and task centred practice.

3. Whatever methods you discuss you should recognise that service users and carers are ‘experts by experience’ and can play an active part in overcoming their difficulties; e.g. through mutual aid groups.

4. You should relate this discussion to the policy context; e.g. in statutory services social workers often have very restricted contact with service users and the services they provide are often limited. So you should have a critical discussion of how this affects social workers capacity to support service users

5. If it is helpful for you to use theory, such as Thompson’s PCS model or ecological theory, you can; but you do not have to. Some General Points to keep in mind:

1. Well-being underpins this discussion. A theme of the module is the psycho-social damage that inequality inflicts on service users’ well-being.  And as this is the last patch finish with a conclusion which pulls together the key points of your assignment as a whole.

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