Safe practice – the importance of supervision for our Specialist Mental Health Mentors

At The Learning Support Centre, we understand the importance of staff feeling supported in their role to ensure they deliver a quality service which ultimately leads to more positive outcomes for our clients. This became particularly important during the pandemic as staff were working from home and more isolated than they ever had been before.

All supervisors have had training for the APT in providing good supervision.

In January 2021 we implemented a new supervision package for our Specialist Mental Health Mentors to support them in their work. The primary purpose of providing supervision was to ensure that Mentors are addressing the needs of their clients, to support them in their role, explore and support worker wellness, and to provide guidance around safeguarding and risk. The aim is for Supervision to be a collaborative process that allows the Mentor a safe space for reflection and to gain guidance in any areas where they may feel ‘stuck’.

We offer all Mentors six weekly one to one supervision throughout the academic year, the frequency of supervision may change from mentor-to-mentor dependent on the size of their case load and/or the complexity of their clients. Alongside this we run two Peer Mentoring groups that are run six weekly where Mentors can meet with their peers to share best practice, resources, strategies, and ideas. To ensure everyone is supported in the supervisory process the Supervisors also receive external supervision six weekly. This process has provided a wraparound service to both students, mentors, and supervisors which has led to an improved service for our clients and better outcomes.

Prior to supervision all mentors agree on a working contract with their supervisor which covers the purpose of supervision, confidentiality and how the minutes from each supervision will stored. We ensure the supervision is a two-way process and give mentors the freedom to choose what they use the space for e.g., case discussion, reflection, risk, planning for future mentoring sessions, support around their own wellbeing. We ask for feedback on supervision and the peer mentoring group to ensure the service is meeting the needs of the mentors and to allow us to act on any suggestions for change and improvement.

The feedback on supervision so far has been excellent and we can already see an improvement in our service.

“The support given from supervisors to mentors is amazing and I always feel I can discuss problems/gain feedback. The system works well, and the training is very good.”

If you are interested in joining the team, please find all current vacancies on our website.

The Learning Support Centre is a pleasure to work for. It is a privilege to work with such lovely students and colleagues. There are few roles out there that promote a true holistic approach to support. I feel that the LSC staff genuinely do care for both students and staff.

Lorna – Specialist Mental Health Mentor