Although 2014: p5). ‘Their status and authority within mental

Although social work, as a profession
has always played a major role within mental health; in terms of improving the
mental health services and the mental health outcomes of its clients (Allen,
2014). By bringing a distinctive social
and rights-based perspective to their work; … advanced relationship-based
skills and … focus on personalisation and recovery’ (Allen, 2014: p5) – which has helped support those with mental health problems make ‘positive, self-directed change’ (Allen, 2014:

status and authority within mental health setting has sometimes been
undermined, and opportunities to realise professional potential have been
underdeveloped’ (Allen,
2014, p5).

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Reasons behind this, is because it is
difficult to define what the role and contribution of social work is, within multidisciplinary setting like community
mental health teams; and has created problems for social workers working in
this setting.

Within this essay one will critically
evaluate the role and contribution of social work in a community mental health team;
setting; to establish why the role of social work within these teams are
difficult to define. Before critically examining why it is importance to
keeping a social perspective within mental health and how this approach can how
help social work practice to understand how inequality and discrimination can manifest
within service users lives.

In recent years, the role and
contribution of social workers within community mental health teams has not
always been well defined, according to Allen (2014); and this has caused
problems for social workers. Whereby some social workers have expressed
concerns about their status and authority within multidisciplinary team, as this
has sometimes been undermined by other health professions who at times take the
lead when decisions being made for service users (Drinkwater, 2017).

But why is the role and contribution of
social work within community mental health teams difficult to define? When one
of the main task for all social workers, in whichever setting they are in (i.e.
Adult social care, mental health or child and families) is to sustain the social,
mental and emotional well-being of their clients (Foster,

Goemans (2012) argues that the reason
why the role and contribution of social work within community
mental health teams is difficult to define is due changes made within
mental health team. Where social workers have moved from working in a standard
social work team to integrated mental health teams; this has impacted on the
way social workers carry out their role and duties. Therefore, this has made it
difficult to define to what the role and contribution of social work within a
community meant health team.

In the past social workers worked separately
from other health officials who may also be working with the same service users
and were based with other social workers where they would work with a range of social
issues, including mental health. Nowadays social workers work directly with
other health disciplines and sometimes they be the only social worker within
the team (Goemans, 2012).

Whilst one understands the rationale
behind the multidisciplinary teams – i.e. to provide a service that is
beneficial to the service user, by ensuring that all aspects of their needs and
care are properly managed and assessed so that most fitting advice (or
intervention) can be given (, 2017).

One cannot help question whether social
workers were better working off amongst themselves. Since the old model of
working provided a clear definition on what the social workers do and allowed social
workers to work with a wider spectrum of social issues covering a person’s
whole life span (Goemans, 2012). Whereas the new model of working challenges
social practice by making it hard for social workers to maintain the values and
perspectives which are currently at odds with the mainstream views on mental

With that being said, this does not
counteract that multidisciplinary team working is most
effective of working way with service users who have mental health problems
because it carries so many benefits which are not only beneficial to service
users – in terms of providing
a range of skill which meets effectively with the ‘complex needs of service users who require the different skills from
different professionals’ (Mental Health Commission, 2006: p12). As well as
enables provisions from a wide range of services and resources for service
users and ‘provides a seamless service to
users which enhances continuity of care’ (Mental
Health Commission, 2006: p12).  

But it is also beneficial to the mental
health professionals who work in multidisciplinary teams such as community mental
health teams (Mental Health Commission, 2006).  According to the Mental Health Commission’s
report (2006) there are many advantages
to mental health professionals who work who work in community mental health team.
For example, it offers close-knit peer support for all health professionals; divisions
in labour; ensures that all health professionals within the team are used in a
way that is beneficial to the service users; allows opportunity for
professionals to cross over skills as lean and gain new ones (Mental Health
Commission, 2006).

With that being said, this does not counteract
that working within a multidisciplinary team can present some challenges to
mental health officials, particularly around management, leadership,
confidentiality, and conflict management and resolution (Mental Health
Commission, 2006).

Therefore, one agrees with Goemans’
(2012) statement that the move from a generic social work setting to a multidisciplinary team setting has impacted on the way
in which social workers have carry out their role within community mental health teams. As this
has been evidenced in various reports which have shown that some social workers
have expressed concerns around blurred roles, professional identity, feeling
marginalised and not valued by other disciplines who do not always value a
social model or the skills and expertise of mental health social workers.

Whilst one can agree that multidisciplinary team working can be plagued with
problems by individual staff and groups of staff; and that tensions between mental
health officials can be healthy, especially if it is over the rights and
responsibilities of patients or service users (BASW, 2010).