Social workers need more help to deal with the stresses of the job, academics have claimed.
Professor Gail Kinman and Dr Louise Grant, both at the University of Bedfordshire, believe managers can play a valuable role in helping social workers cope with the pressures they face on a daily basis, and say individuals should not be left to cope entirely without support.
Professor Kinman explained:
“Social workers have an extremely stressful job that is emotionally demanding. With sickness and retention problems affecting the whole sector, we need to look at ways to help social workers keep working.”
Dr Grant added:
“For social workers to thrive in social work practice they need support from effective team managers and an organisation that values the wellbeing of their staff.”
“We need to see some changes at every level of the profession. Managers need to make the emotional wellbeing of their workforce a priority and take it seriously. It is not fair to assume the individual can be emotionally resilient without support.”
In addition to responsive management policies, the authors recommend greater focus on helping social workers to value their own emotional wellbeing throughout their careers.
The average social worker only stays in the profession for eight years.
The report was entitled Building emotional resilience in the children and families workforce – an evidence-informed approach. It is available here.