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Scott Medical & Healthcare College

Scott College's First MasterClass of the Year: Understanding the Vital Role of Discharge Support Workers in Plymouth

Students in Year 9, Year 10, and Year 13 were given a unique opportunity to delve into the essential role of discharge support workers in Plymouth.

This enlightening session from Amanda and Livewell Southwest, shed light on how these dedicated professionals assist individuals with their mental health needs and guide them back into our communities. Through this experience, students gained insight into the importance of qualities like kindness, empathy, understanding, and active listening in this crucial role.

Empowering Mental Health Support

The masterclass focused on the multifaceted responsibilities of discharge support workers. These professionals play a pivotal role in assisting individuals on their journey to mental well-being and community reintegration. Here are some of the key aspects the students explored:

  1. Discharge Planning: Discharge support workers meticulously plan the transition of individuals from healthcare facilities back into the community, ensuring a smooth and supportive process.

  2. Benefits and Housing: They help individuals navigate the complex web of benefits and secure suitable housing, recognising the critical link between stable living conditions and mental health.

  3. Managing Debts and Fines: Discharge support workers address financial challenges by assisting with debt management and fine resolution, alleviating stressors that can exacerbate mental health issues.

  4. Assessing Habitability: Ensuring that individuals have a safe and habitable place to call home is a fundamental aspect of their role.

  5. Referrals to Other Agencies: They connect individuals with additional support services, creating a network of resources to aid in their recovery.

  6. Investigatory Work: In some cases, discharge support workers engage in investigative efforts to identify underlying issues affecting mental health.

  7. Transport and Appointments: They facilitate transportation to medical and therapeutic appointments, ensuring that individuals receive the necessary care.

  8. Building Confidence: The process of recovery often involves rebuilding self-confidence and self-esteem, which discharge support workers actively foster.

  9. Approaching Homelessness: They employ strategies to prevent homelessness and, when necessary, provide support to those who find themselves without a home.

  10. Access to Food Banks: Discharge support workers assist individuals in accessing food bank vouchers and parcels, addressing a basic need for sustenance.

Inspiring Perspectives

Daisy, a Year 13 student said "It was inspiring to hear all the hard work they put in and the huge rewards they get from helping individuals with mental health" 

Tillie, another student, recognised the practical value of the information shared, "The Level 3 BTEC program offered at Scott College aligns with the qualifications sought by employers in the field of discharge support work. This reinforces the significance of my education and its relevance in addressing the critical needs of the community."

It's clear that the students were deeply moved by the commitment displayed by discharge support workers.

The revelation that the South West has seen a dramatic reduction in available beds for individuals with mental health needs, from over 250 to just 19 for both males and females, was a sobering moment for the students. This drastic change underscores the urgency and importance of mental health support in the region.

Scott College's first masterclass of the year provided a profound learning experience for its students, shedding light on the indispensable role of discharge support workers in Plymouth. The session not only exposed students to the vital qualities needed for this line of work but also emphasised the critical importance of mental health support in our communities. It served as a reminder that empathy, compassion, and active listening are not just traits to be admired but are essential tools for creating a better and more supportive world for all.