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British Journal of Social Work ; 53(1):405-424, 2023.
Article in English | CINAHL | ID: covidwho-2241886


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.