Last week I went on a training course. As an AMHP I am obliged to complete 3 (I think!) training days every year which specifically relate to my role as an Approved Mental Health Professional in order to maintain my warrant.
So it was that last week there was a legal update course. I can’t say I was thrilled by the prospect. Generally, I don’t mind training. It’s a day out of the office and a chance to exercise different parts of the brain. I knew the course wouldn’t be oversubscribed as the levels of emails reminding us to sign up increased as the week progressed! So it was a nice, cosy group!
As it was, and in fact, if I’m brutally honest, as it usually is – it was more engaging than I was expecting. It was a pure and simple (if it ever is!) legal update with no more specific narrow focus so we applied more recent case law and some points of confusion between the old legislation and the new legislation (as the Mental Health Act was amended last autumn) to some practical case studies and examples of our own practice.
Two points of interest really from the training. Firstly, it was the first time I have ever, I think, in about ten years, attended a training course for social workers (yes, I know AMHPs don’t HAVE to be social workers but we all were on this occasion!) where there were more men than women present!
It was rather novel actually and although it made absolutely no different whatsoever to the course, the training or the dynamics – it was just a point of interest – for me anyway – because these are the kinds of things that occupy my mind when I should be thinking of recent case law!
The other part was that with the exception of one person, all the other attendees were from Emergency Duty Teams. So it was actually lovely to meet the ‘names on the report sheets’ finally. We don’t have much opportunity to meet those who work between 5pm and 9am and at weekends and holidays so it was great not only to put faces to names but also to engage in a wider discussion about the role of the generic social worker – as all the EDT workers have to have substantial experience both of Children and Families work and specifically of Mental Health work (as they are involved in those difficult through-the-night emergency decisions that all too often involve Mental Health Act Assessments and Emergency Child Protection work).
Apart from that the training was very well delivered and I shouldn’t really underestimate it! It reminded me how important it is to germinate ideas and case studies between us as otherwise it is very easy to grow a ‘team’ mentality and a way of working that isn’t always helpful all round.