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The British Journal of Social Work ; 2022.
Article in English | Web of Science | ID: covidwho-1937648

ABSTRACT

Covid-19 brought about drastic changes in day-to-day life and working practices, and had a profound impact on the mental health and well-being of the general population. Certain professional groups have also been particularly affected. This study sought to explore how levels of psychological distress and perceptions of workplace support amongst social work staff changed during the pandemic. We present the results from a series of surveys conducted in four local authorities (LAs) in England, before and during the Covid-19 pandemic. Social workers and other social care staff (n = 62) were asked about their experiences of psychological distress, using the twelve-item General Health Questionnaire. Overall, we found the proportion of staff reporting elevated levels of psychological distress increased and, in line with previous studies involving social workers, was high relative to the general population. Yet, most staff also said they had high levels of support from managers and colleagues, whilst a small proportion reported an increased perception of workplace support during the pandemic, compared to before. We consider these findings in relation to Organisational Support Theory and reflect on the ability of LAs to provide effective support for social care staff. Long before most of us had heard of coronavirus, social workers were already reporting high levels of psychological distress compared to the general public. In this study, we explored how levels of psychological distress changed amongst staff working in children's social services during the pandemic. We asked sixty-two people working in children's social services in four local authorities in England to complete a survey about their well-being and to tell us whether the support they received changed during Covid-19. We found the proportion of staff reporting elevated levels of psychological distress was high and that it increased over the pandemic. But social work staff also said they had high levels of support from managers and colleagues, and some reported an increased perception of workplace support during the pandemic, compared to before.

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