How social work managers can manage stress

By Kate Snowdon, assistant content editor, Community Care Inform Adults

Stress is an occupational hazard for most social workers, and sadly now more so than ever. Working with some of the most vulnerable members of our society, social workers regularly support people who are experiencing difficult or traumatic life events. This vital but challenging work, combined with environmental and personal factors, can cause stress for many practitioners.

During the Covid-19 outbreak, more managers than ever will be feeling and seeing the effects of stress, in themselves, their teams and their service users. In recognition of these acute challenges – and to thank all social workers for their incredible work – Community Care is making a number of specialist subscription resources freely available.

As of today, all social workers have access to Community Care Inform’s guide, Stress management: a guide for managers, written by Ray Braithwaite exclusively for Inform Children and Inform Adults. The guide is available as a free, downloadable PDF, to help managers identify and manage stress in their teams and themselves. Although the guide was primarily written for managers, it includes tips and exercises that social workers at all levels may find useful.

The guide briefly explores what stress is, and the impact it has, before giving you ways to talk about, think about and manage stress, individually and as a team. It contains exercises, reflective questions and practice tips that may help you.

What’s in the guide?

The guide is written by Ray Braithwaite, who is a retired author and trainer, and has spoken nationally and internationally on stress. The guide includes:

  • What stress is, the symptoms, the impact it has and why managers need to tackle it.
  • The six key areas of work that make up the primary sources of stress and how to manage them.
  • Strategies to manage workplace bullying and risk assess workplace stress.

The guide considers key evidence, policy, guidance and law to inform managers on the causes, and the consequences and signs of stress. It also contains a number of exercises designed to challenge your thinking around stress.

More from Community Care Inform

Community Care Inform Children and Community Care Inform Adults provide online resources for subscribing social workers and social care professionals. If you have a licence through your employer or institution, you might also find the links below particularly useful at this time.

Self-care and Covid-19: podcast and transcript

Use of self and emotional intelligence: quick guide for practice educators

Managing fear in social work

Fear and social work: podcast and transcript

Loneliness and isolation during the pandemic: podcast and transcript

Not sure if you have a licence?

A large number of local authorities and universities work with us so do ask your manager, principal social worker or learning and development team if you have access, or contact our helpdesk by email or phone (0203 915 9444). You can also enquire about new subscriptions.

You can read extracts from other Community Care Inform resources here.