Social Work for Better Mental Health programme

The ‘Social Work for Better Mental Health’ (SWfBMH) programme was launched by the Department of Health and Social Care in 2016 to help to develop social work across the mental health sector, and to make sure that the value of social work in improving mental wellbeing is recognised.

This webpage explains more about SWfBMH, some lessons learned from the programme and how to get involved. It links to useful resources for social work leaders to improve the integration between social work and mental health services across the health and social care sector. It also seeks to involve service users and carers in this process through finding out what they most want from great social work and involving them in change.

Improvement tools and resources

These documents support local integrated teams to review their mental health social work services, how they work in partnership and how they work with service users and carers and make the required changes to improve and develop practice.

The documents detail the first comprehensive social work improvement methodology within mental health. Previously, there have been no standard or comparative processes to evaluate the performance of social work in mental health settings, whether in NHS integrated Trusts, local authorities or the private, social enterprise or voluntary sectors.

They include:

  • an overview of the strategy and importance of social work in mental health services
  • a self-assessment and improvement resource
  • guidance about how to get and use feedback on mental health social work practice from service users, carers and family.

Download the resources here.


Social Work for Better Mental Health in practice

Over 65 local authority and NHS Trust regions have undertaken the self-assessment and planning process.

  • Download a summary of the findings so far here.
  • If you want to get involved in your area, please contact us.