I am a mental health social worker in Manchester. I’m currently training to become an Approved Social Worker (ASW) so that I can undertake the full range of tasks associated with assessing and managing care plans for people with mental health problems.

At university, where I studied Economics and French, I felt a little aimless. I considered a financial career but at an interview with a major bank was unable to summon up the necessary enthusiasm! I applied successfully for an administration role with a voluntary project working with the homeless in London. In this small organisation, I worked directly with drug users and also gained management experience.

After five years I decided it was time to get a professional qualification and did the Diploma in Social Work in Manchester. One of my placements was in the accident and emergency department of the local hospital where I acted as a link between people who presented themselves with alcohol and drug-related problems and the relevant social services.

I enjoy the opportunity for in-depth long-term work with clients and being part of a multidisciplinary team. I’m currently seconded from social services to a care trust where I work closely with occupational therapists, psychiatric and nursing staff (this close integration really help clients). It can be a stressful job but I rely on the support of my team colleagues and have learned to cut myself off at the end of the day in order to cope.

I plan to stay in mental health work but may at some stage consider a move, perhaps to a more rural team, the private sector or a specialised unit working with adolescents. Overall I’m happy to be in a role in harmony with my values and beliefs.

Tony – Mental Health Social Worker