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Caroline Aldridge
Social worker, author, speaker, trainer, and practice educator.
If I could change one thing, it would be to increase kindness.

I am a creative and experienced social worker and educator with a passion for improving practice in health and social care. As a bereaved mother, I weave my personal and professional experiences into a unique view of mental health services.

In 2021, decided to follow my heart and where my book, He Died Waiting: Learning the Lessons - a Bereaved Mother's View of Mental Health Services, leads and become an independent speaker and trainer. Reviews of the book describe it as an 'essential read for anyone with an interest in mental health, 'breath-taking', and 'a rich learning source'. The sequel, They Died Waiting: The Crisis in Mental Health Services - Stories of Loss and Stories of Hope (2023) is a collection of other people's narratives that I co-edited with Emma Corlett.


The Learning Social Worker is a socially responsible, values-driven business based on principles of inclusion and compassion. 


I am available for consultation, workshops, conferences, bespoke course design and delivery, and guest lecturer or speaker on topics relating to He Died Waiting (including mental health, professional practice and values, carer's lived experience, engaging with people and utilising strengths). 

My qualifications include: Social Work BA (First Class Hons), Advanced Social Work MA (distinction), Diploma in Education and Training, and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. 

My experience: Over 30 years experience of working with children and families in a range of settings including social work posts in safeguarding, adoption, and child and adolescent mental health. My teaching experience includes, course leading a social work degree apprenticeship, lecturing on HE mental health, health, and social care programmes, and delivering training in mental health settings. 

As a speaker, I have delivered, keynotes at national events (virtually and in person), and talked to statutory or charitable organisations of all sizes.

I am the co-creator of the What Works Practice Learning Circle (

When I am not working, studying, writing, or enjoying time with my friends and family, I can usually be found in my sewing room at the bottom of the garden.

Please see my CV for more details.


More about He Died Waiting and They Died Waiting

Books with a purpose that are bursting with lived experience 

In 2014, my eldest son, Tim, died. He had struggled with bipolar disorder for many years but he was never the right kind of ill to get the help he needed and deserved. When he died, I was thrust into the incomprehensible and brutal processes that follow an  unexpected death. As a social worker and educator I gradually became more aware of the crisis in mental health services and the need for mental health services to be more empathetic and informed. He Died Waiting was written as a plea for policy makers, organisations, professionals, and the public, to exercise decency, challenge unsafe or unkind practice, support people in distress, and push for improved services. The book has received 5* reviews and exceeded expectations. Requests have flooded in for me to speak or deliver training. The feedback from these events has been overwhelmingly positive. I made the decision to leave my post as a social work course leader and concentrate my energies where I can make the biggest difference.

They Died Waiting is a unique collection of people's stories that I co-edited with Emma Corlett.

There are chapters written by bereaved relatives, service-users, carers, practitioners, activists, journalists, and people involved in postvention projects. The wrap=around chapters provide, context, theory, and challenge. 

He Died Waiting, They Died Waiting, and related teaching products are available from the 'shop' on this website. The book is available on Kindle and from most ebook platforms. I am hosting a 'pay-it forward' option where you can purchase a book for someone who cannot afford a copy or request one. Email me on for details.

You can read more about the rationale behind He Died Waiting here:

Read a review of He Died Waiting  here

A recording of the virtual book launch is on Youtube here: https://youtube/UNvWo81MEQY

Listen to me talking on Woman's Hour here:

Watch a webinar on Values- driven practice at a Siobhan Maclean/SWStudent connect event here:



If you are considering booking me as a speaker or trainer, please email me at if you have anything you want more details on. 
Follow me on Twitter @CarolineAldrid5 and @waiting_he (my DMs are open).

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Dr Karen McMahon

Mental Health Nurse Lecturer

"He Died Waiting is required reading for every mental health trainee and professional ... a call to change that must be heard."

Emma Carter

Mental Health Practitioner

"I urge all practitioners to immediately get themselves a copy of He Died Waiting so we can all learn to do better, both personally and professionally"

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