Looking and listening
Loneliness, the theme of Mental Health Awareness Week 2022, provides us with a timely reminder of a common trigger to poor mental health and emotional wellbeing.
If we needed reminding, our social work capability to assess and work alongside people in their own home environments is so critical to understanding needs and preferences, whilst formulating a professional judgement on potential plans and interventions.
I am a strong advocate of our social work communication skill set which involves listening to others, particularly when working to understand how someone relates to someone else or how they manage their affairs on a day to day basis.
And despite our best intentions to meet people on a face to face basis, I am also mindful of people who are often hidden in plain sight within our respective communities.
Mental Health Awareness Week provides us with a helpful prompt to re-double our efforts to think ‘loneliness’ when we receive contacts and referrals for our professional interventions. It also encourages us to proactively consider assertive approaches, which offer people an opportunity to receive the care and support they need in a manner which suits them best.
Consider our own needs too
Of course, we need to look after ourselves too and be alert to the mental health needs of our health and care colleagues, many of whom will work outside our sphere of social work practice. That’s why I commend social care colleagues’ continued access to Our Frontline: a suite of mental health and wellbeing resources, available seven days a week, throughout the year.
Even social care professionals need someone to talk to occasionally and reflect on their own state of mind. This year’s theme may be focused on ‘loneliness’ but when it comes to support, advice and a listening ear offered without judgment, we are never alone.