How can I improve my mental health as a social worker?

Social workers across Scotland missed more than 30,000 days of work last year due to mental health issues, new data has revealed. 

The absences impacted 27 local authorities, with the most significant staffing shortages reported in Glasgow (8,539) and North Lanarkshire (3,387). 

Unfortunately, this is just one of the many instances that highlights the urgent need for better mental health support in the social care sector. In fact, a poll last year found that two-thirds of social workers had experienced worsening mental health due to work related stress. 

Seeing as our consultants have a wealth of experience in the public sector, we thought we’d ask them for some guidance on best practices for improving mental health as a social worker…

Don’t feel guilty for having down time

We all know what it’s like to kick our shoes off after work, only to find…we’re still thinking about work. Give yourself permission to relax when you’re off the clock, even if you’ve had a stressful day remember that you’ve done your best and can’t change anything now. To help create the mental division between work and personal time, we recommend getting into comfy clothes when you get home. Do this everyday until it becomes a routine, you’ll slowly find that your brain associates cosey clothes as a green light to decompress and switch off from the working day. 

Ask for help 

Easier said than done, yes. But your supervisor is there for a reason! If you feel like you’re struggling or just need someone who understands the emotional pressures of being a social worker, then speaking to a senior member of the team can have a significant impact. Not only will it help get your worries out into the open, you will also likely find that your supervisor has been through the same thing. 

Give mindfulness a try

Hear us out – mindfulness actually works! Even if you’re not completely sold, there’s no harm in trying it, right? Make mindfulness accessible during your shift so that if you find yourself getting overwhelmed you have a method of escapism. Visit the Mind website for further information on the benefits of practising mindfulness, as well as some useful resources to check out. 


We hope you found this blog of use. If you feel like your mental health is still deteriorating, seek advice from a medical professional or call the Samaritans free helpline on 116 123. 

To get in touch with a member of the Social Personnel team, please email [email protected]

carlette Isaac

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