South-west London's mental health trust has been named as one of 16 that will train graduates to become mental health social workers in a fast-track scheme.

South West London and St George's (SWLStG) will partner with the Think Ahead charity to give graduates on-the-job training from September.

The scheme is funded by the Department of Health to the tune of £12m.

Trainees will learn to work with people on their relationships, support networks and living arrangements.

SWLStG chief executive David Bradley said: “Through encouraging relationships with family and friends we can break down the barriers to encourage more people to seek help when they experience a mental illness.”

Sarah Carr, from the National Service User Network, told the BBC: "Support from a social worker with the right skills and expertise can be transformational for people living with mental health problems."

Earlier this year SWLStG said it was battling to bring down the proportion of nursing posts that were vacant across its patch - Kingston, Merton, Richmond, Sutton and Wandsworth - which stood at 26 per cent in December 2015.