Mental Health Social Work Leadership Network

With the appointment of the Statewide Mental Health Social Work Educator, it was a great opportunity to reinvigorate the Mental Health Social Work Leadership Network. The network representatives are mostly discipline seniors or a similar delegate from each AMHS. The network meets monthly, and has an online community of practice to support further collaboration and connection.

In June 2021 the network participated in their first of two strategic planning sessions to establish the vision and purpose of the network. Not only will this provide the current leaders within the sector an opportunity to connect and create a positive impact across the state, but it will also provide pathways and opportunities for emerging social work leaders across the sector to gain experience and add their voice to the vision and goals of the network. 

Social work is the second largest discipline in area mental health services and they work in diverse roles across services. Often social workers work in generic roles and as such don’t get opportunities to utilise discipline specific skills as often as they would like. Social workers would like to see more discipline specific roles not only in inpatient units to promote psycho-social recovery and family inclusive practice, but across all settings and lifespans within the sector. Social workers have also identified in preliminary scoping efforts that they would like more training, reflective practice spaces and communities of practice that are specific for social workers to maintain a strong identity within their work and discipline. It was also identified that the structures and support for social work is varied across the AMHS. With some services having no, or very little, EFT for discipline seniors to lead social work practice, provide discipline specific workforce development or support the expansion or retention of social workers working within AMHS.

World Social Work Day

2020 and 2021 also saw the team establish a planning committee for a World Social Work Day event and a statewide social work conference. On the 16th of March 2021, they held an inaugural statewide World Social Work Day event with Wadamba Wilam. This was a facilitated panel discussion regarding social and emotional wellbeing practice approaches and values, and how they relate to the social work code of ethics and values. 

Statewide Social Work Forum

On Thursday 21st of October we held our first Social Work Forum, with the theme; Strengths, Opportunities and New Directions !  There was a lot of learning and ‘pivoting’ going on by our CMHL team and Working group but all the hard work paid off with what was reported widely as an extremely successful day that supported connection to self, our Social Work identity and our Social Work Colleague's across the state. A panel consisting of consumer and carer lived experience workers was a clear standout for most participants and gave us an opportunity to hear reflections and critiques from the panellist’s on the Royal Commission into Victorian Mental Health Services.



Jacara Egan

Statewide Mental Health Social Work Educator

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