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£10m plan to boost community mental health

Fast-track training scheme hopes to recruit 300 new social workers

Mark Gould

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

The Department of Health has announced details of a £10m scheme to fast-track graduates to become social workers in community mental health teams.

The scheme run by charity Think Ahead aims to recruit 300 graduates by 2018 to work with nurses and psychiatrists.

They will receive intensive 14 month specialist training on supporting individuals and families with mental health problems.

Graduates are paid while training on the job and qualify 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. The government funding will provide money for 200 more places by 2018.

Mental health minister Alistair Burt said mental health social work was highly skilled, complex work and the funding would mean thousands of people would be helped to lead more independent and fulfilling lives.

"This is a great initiative to attract the brightest and best into the profession," he said.

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