Jerry Bedford

I appreciate that I am given the autonomy to grow and develop my role which I hope will continue to support the team and support those who have mental health issues.

I have worked in mental health for 30 years. The first five years in psychiatric nursing and then 25 years as a Social Worker before I retired as Senior Practitioner from Social Services. My specialisms were working with those with a dual diagnosis of substance abuse/mental health issues and Mentally Disordered offenders. Because of the nature of my client group I worked a lot with other statutory and voluntary agencies. I was a contributor in the Mentally Disordered Offenders meetings with the police and probation. Through this I was invited to join the Margate Task Force where I worked closely with the agencies such as DWP, Police, Probation, Housing Providers and many more.

It was through this work that it became evident that working in this co-ordinated approach produced results because we were working as a multidisciplinary team. In most cases when a client presents with a mental health problem there are very often other problems such as substance abuse, homelessness and poverty. If I had seen this client through the traditional channels, I would have had to refer to other agencies to address problems of housing and substance abuse which can take a considerable length of time. In the context of the Margate Task Force I was to discuss the case immediately with other agencies. With this co-ordinated approach immediate support could be made available. This was extremely satisfying to see these clients in many cases getting the appropriate support. It also worked the other way with Police, DWP etc who were able to raise their concerns over a person’s mental health directly with me.

I passionately believe that working with other agencies really does play a key role in supporting people and opens up doors for professionals to better understand each other’s ways of working and resource pressures, to discover shared objectives and develop joint approaches to achieve them.

Consequently, when I retired from Socials Services earlier this year, I was delighted to be offered a role in RISE in Thanet as Mental Health Assessment Advisor. I have only been working with Serveco since September 2019., I work part-time and am still settling in.

Having come from working for a large bureaucratic organisation I was wary of working for a different and non-statutory organisation. I had no need to worry! I am amazed at the dedication and commitment of the team. They are dynamic, proactive and inclusive. There are team members from the DWP, Probation, Housing and drug and alcohol agencies amongst others. They do not see problems, but challenges and solutions. They are a team that are making a visible difference in the local community and transforming people’s lives for the better. It is great being part of a team where your role is valued from the managers down. I appreciate that I am given the autonomy to grow and develop my role which I hope will continue to support the team and support those who have mental health issues.



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