Transform Society Case Studies : Tamsin Ashton – Mental health social worker with Think Ahead

Over the coming weeks, we will be sharing case studies from Transform Society, featuring University of Bristol graduates in various careers in the public sector including Social Work, Health and Mental Health Care, and Teaching!

Transform Society is a network of social change programmes (Teach First, Police Now, Unlocked, Think Ahead, NGDP and Frontline) that together, are working to develop the public service leaders of the future. By partnering with  Transform Society, the University of Bristol is showing a commitment to helping increase the number and diversity of high-calibre graduates taking up roles on community impact programmes.

Tamsin Ashton graduated in 2013 with a degree in Biochemistry from the University of Bristol and is now a Mental Health Social worker with Think Ahead

What have you done since leaving Bristol?

I worked for Cancer Research UK for over four years. I initially started on their graduate scheme which is 2 years, 6 months in four different teams. I then got a permanent role as a Research Engagement Manager, running events to bring supporters and the public closer to the science funded by the charity. While doing this I continued volunteering as I had at University, for example as a befriender at a charity for those with learning disabilities.

What do you do in your current role?

I joined the Think Ahead programme and am working in a secondary mental health team, supporting people who are experiencing on-going challenges with their mental health. We are the first service people come to after being referred by their GP. The team is made up of social workers, nurses, occupational therapists and psychiatrists. We do initial assessments of people’s mental health and then support them in a number of ways, for example looking at coping strategies to deal with anxiety, support with housing, benefits or employment, and prescribing medication (the psychiatrists do this). The idea is that we take a biopsychosocial approach, looking at all aspects of someone’s life in a holistic manner. We also work with other services and third sector organisations to refer people on. Social workers in the team are often involved with statutory tasks such as Care Act assessments, ensuring people have the daily care and support they need.

How did your Bristol degree helped you?

I did Biochemistry which is very different from what I’m doing now! However it definitely helped me to think about things analytically, and it is important to have an evidence-based approach when working with people.

Do you have any hints and tips for current students?

Get involved with volunteering if you can – the University has plenty to offer!


To find out more about Think Ahead and how you can apply, go to their website and be sure to keep an eye out for their events in the Autumn term.  

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