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BASW NI Mentoring Service: the importance of peer support

Blog by Mentor John Sheridan

What matters to me most after 40 years in Social Work is the importance of looking after ourselves and each other better than ever. The challenge is greater now than at any time in my working life. I am thinking about the vital role peer support plays in the social work profession where cooperation in the work-place is as important as free enterprise is to competition in the market-place. On reflection, I have had many trusted colleagues, friends and other professionals who helped me along the way at various times in my career and who challenged me to be more grounded and positive in thinking through work related issues. As a Practice Educator I worked to help students develop their self-confidence and resilience as they sought to become effective practitioners. I became a Mentor with the BASW NI Mentoring Service for all these reasons and more.

The BASW NI Mentoring Service offers an independent, confidential listening and support space for BASW NI members who could benefit from being connected with an experienced practitioner. Mentees have the opportunity to take better control of day-to-day issues and become more motivated and effective in their role. 

For me self-care is an important element of all social work practice in order to maintain a good work-life balance. As a Couch25K Run Leader I recommend a weekly exercise routine in helping to maintain a sense of control over what you can and cannot do at work. I have found that exercise helps boosts morale and maintain good mental health leaving you feel energised and better able to manage your work.

I would encourage members, particularly at this difficult time of Covid-19, and who may be feeling under pressure, to browse the Guidance for the Mentoring Service on the BASW NI Website. I guarantee you won’t regret it.
John Sheridan
BASW NI Mentor