Helping clients and families through social work

28 March 2019: ELEVATE  is the theme for Social Workers Month this year. Celebrated every March, this year social workers at the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute (MWI) are educating the public on what they do. The ELEVATE theme means elevate how social workers practice, empower and collaborate for the betterment of the community they serve.

Social workers help people in all stages of life, from children to the elderly, and in all kinds of situations, from adoption to hospice care. Social work is one of the fastest growing careers worldwide, and the need is expected to double in the next two years.

AT MWI, social workers support mental health, intellectual disability and substance abuse service users.

Vakita Basden, Child and Adolescent Services (CAS) social worker, explains, “I can spend an average of four hours out of a seven-hour work day providing services for CAS’ inpatient unit when it is open. There are four inpatient beds at CAS. My work includes individual, group and family work along with case management. I also provide psychoeducation for groups, families and individuals who may have concerns regarding medication, parenting, grief, support or developmental stages.”

Michelle Edwards is the social worker for Acute Mental Health Services.

“Social workers in mental health play a critical role helping clients and families address the impact of enduring mental illness and providing supports for enhancing one’s quality of life,” Michelle says. “We work as part of the interdisciplinary healthcare team to assess and provide appropriate interventions for service users to achieve optimum recovery treatment goals and rehabilitation. We have to be aware of the latest local legislation. People may also not realise that I have to help an average of four tourists per year with repatriation overseas.”

Teresa Martin, Turning Point Substance Abuse Centre social worker, assists patients with job readiness skills and facilitates sessions on effective communication.

“Turning Point services over 200 patients with dual diagnosis including a form of addiction,” she says. “One of my jobs is to lead a life skills group for the patients so they can learn how to operate daily with as few difficulties as possible.”

In Intellectual Disability, Leroya Hardtman is the social worker.

Social workers working with individuals with intellectual disabilities understand how this group faces particular risks for poverty and poor healthcare,” she explains. “I have to navigate the complex web of social services available. I often work not only with the person with a disability but also with their caregiving families. Collaborating with community partners and agencies plays a significant role for a social worker working with the intellectual disabled population.”

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