Social Work Blues


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The Experiences of a Mental Health Survivor as a Professional Social Worker

By Philip Hill

ISBN: 978-1-78382-197-6
Published: 2015
Pages: 51
Key Themes: Mental Health, Social Work, Personal Experience, Schizophrenia


This is an account of how Philip Hill, a mental health survivor diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, entered the social work profession on the 4th of October 2004. This book tells about how he managed his impairment to become an effectual practitioner. It documents the ups and downs of his time in the profession and his continuing role as a registered social worker currently working at Moseley Centre

The journey starts out with the values and experiences that initially led him into social care and the events that encouraged him to take professional social work seriously as a career. The climax of the book reveals how Philip copes with the depression brought about by the loss of his wife of twenty years, Geraldine and how he recovers from this to rebuild his career.

About the Author

Philip was born on the 20th of March 20th 1965 to a mother named Iris Hill who had become diagnosed with Schizophrenia. She was therefore deemed not able to look after him and was fostered by her half –sister’s daughters, Jessica and her husband Albert. This rupture in his life led to Philip and his twin brother Paul reaching personal developmental milestones at a delayed pace and spending some time inj a special school till nine years of age.

Philip was brought up with his adoptive sister Lynn but separated from other siblings Anita and Peter.

Though academic goals were attained which led him to Leicester University, the emotional development was delayed, leading to a breakdown that coincided with the attainment of his degree.

Despite problems with finding and keeping a job that was to lead to a relapse in 1989 Philip was able to commence a social care career in 1992 with Rethink (then known as the National Schizophrenia Fellowship) for which he worked for 12 twelve years combining part time and full time work and study to gain a Master’s degree, research degree and a social work diploma.

Philip started his professional social work career in 2004 and due to the impact of bereavement of his late Wife Geraldine (with whom he had been married to for 20 years) was deployed as a social care professional in 2013 but kept his registration after lengthy consideration from the Health and Social Care Professionals Council.

Philip’s life before social work is documented in another Chipmunka book ‘Living Out of the Book’.(2008) The bereavement and loss caused by the loss of Geraldine is covered in a book by Chipmunka called ‘Coping with Bereavement.’(2012).

Book Extract


Social work is an ever changing profession. The Care Act is going to have an impact in terms of social work having a role in terms of intervention at the prevention stage to prevent things such as breakdowns in the caring relationship happening in the first place.

Most of the period during which I worked the registration of social workers became mandatory as part of the implementation of Modernising Social Services White Paper in 1998. This presented issues as my illness presented issues that caused my fitness to practice to be reconsidered late in my career.

The White paper ,Valuing People 2001 and subsequent sequels to this were the governments vision for people with learning disabilities throughout my career and included a definition of learning disability which I was to use throughout my career.

A continuing trend towards direct payments put service users in the position of employers. As assessments have become more structured they have included risk matrixes that have put limits on the amount that can be spent on individuals with particular needs. Such assessments have taken power away from social workers as senior managers make decisions and increasingly have the final say on funding.

The carers and social care providers often put the responsibility of organising the funding package on the social worker when in fact they can only make recommendations to senior managers. This places the social worker continually at the interface of potential conflict between the local authority and various stakeholders including the NHS.

Therefore there is always an emotional rollercoaster of a journey to be had even by the relatively detached practitioners. My emotional journey from 2004 to 2013 is described in this book. I hope you enjoy reading it.


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