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“If there’s something weird and it don’t look good. Who you gonna call?” (Part 2)

If you do find that you are struggling with mental health issues or are feeling as though you can’t cope with life, what do you do? And where do you turn? This month, I’ve connected with some mental health practitioners to provide guidance as to what the different mental health practitioners do, to guide those of us seeking therapeutic help and guidance.

Interview with a Social Worker:

What does a social worker do?

People normally think of statutory social workers who are involved with the removal of children. This is only one area of social work, and you need to be designated to statutory social work.

Our goal within social work is about how to develop communities and to help communities thrive. We work with individuals, groups and families. We consider what are your resources – what are you lacking and what have you got. Social work is about developing and helping people thrive individually, group and community.

We look at using resources. For example, how do we help families, we try and work with what you have available to you. If you are struggling to move, we build in exercises to help you move within your environment. We play to your strengths and sensory capabilities. It’s about using the resources you have to manage mental wellness

What is the difference between a social worker and a psychologist?

Although social workers are not involved in any diagnostic work, they work with people, and can be your first source of therapeutic healing. We can refer for extra support or input around diagnosis if required. We help clients develop skills and help to manage symptoms, once they have a diagnosis. We look at the impact on your life, and what we can do with that. For example, what are your triggers for depression, and when you see that happening, what do you do, what are your options, and strategies in this space eg checking in with a friend.

Social work gives clients practical resources. What does your depression mean practically? Where is it stopping our life and what can we do

When would someone need to see a social worker?

There is no one size fits all when it comes to treatment. Depending on approach you’re needing, at the time, it will determine who you approach. At the end of the day, if you are struggling to function – you need to speak to someone. And you need someone who is going to listen and understand to help you pick up the different threads. If you feel like things are unravelling, you should seek help, before you feel like you’re too stretched. It’s hard for many people to admit that they’re not coping.

How do you find a social worker?

The best place is to look at the SAASWIPP Website, and search by interest topic. Social workers need to be registered to be on the website, and you will find information on whether they are cash only or you can claim medical aid. All this information will be available

Anything you would like to add?

Different people connect with different practitioners – this is about a process and a journey.  While there has historically been a hierarchical perception and at times, real division between psychologists, there is most definitely space and a need for both.  Even as mental health practitioners, we should always be working within the best interests of our clients, ethically and professionally.  This should always guide practice.