Social Pulse: Insights from the Frontline with Tracey

In this blog, we speak to Tracey, a dedicated mental health social worker whose journey commenced in the voluntary sector. It was here that she found the inspiration to become a social worker herself. Carry on reading to find out more about the ins and outs of her role, as well as advice on how to look after yourself when your profession is looking after others. 

 

How do you approach building rapport and trust with clients who may be hesitant to engage with you? 

“It can be difficult,” she admits.

“Sometimes they find it hard to trust you from the get-go, especially if they’ve had bad experiences with social workers before.” 

Tracey explains that she tries to provide her clients with a safe space to share their story, ensuring they feel heard and understood. 

“It’s crucial to give them enough time to express themselves without interruption or judgement,” she adds.

 

As a piece of advice for newbie social workers, Tracey says she finds it helpful to steer away from formal assessments initially and engage in casual conversations to establish a connection. 

“Whether it’s during a face-to-face visit or over the phone, building trust should be the first priority.” 

Could you share an example of a particularly challenging case you’ve worked on and how you navigated it?

“I once had a review with a non-verbal client. It was my first experience working with an interpreter, so I found it initially unfamiliar having a third party involved and somewhat difficult to adjust to,” she says.

Despite the challenges, Tracey remained flexible and attentive to the needs of all parties involved and was able to successfully conduct the assessment and gather the necessary information to provide the best possible support for the client.

What self-care practices do you implement to prevent burnout and maintain your own mental well-being while working in a demanding field like mental health social work?

“I like to take regular breaks from looking at my screen. I’ll go and make a coffee or go for a short walk to help relax my brain.

“If I’m in the office I’ll go and chat to a colleague – it’s important to check in on your colleagues’ mental health as well as looking after your own,” Tracey stresses. 

“We share what’s on our mind, and if I have a pressing issue then I will get advice and solutions from my supervisor.”

Is there ever any tension between social care and health priorities and how do you navigate this? 

“There is tension,” Tracey starts. 

“Sometimes we have to really spell out the distinction between physical health needs and social care needs.”

This can be highly frustrating, and not to mention time-consuming, she adds, explaining that overall it boils down to understanding each individual’s needs and working out which service will give them the best outcome.

What is one piece of advice you wish you’d been given before starting your career in social care? 

“Be patient,” says Tracey. 

“Talk to people with respect and empower them to be independent in their own health, and look out for strength in people. That’s so important.” 

Social Personnel would like to thank Tracey for sharing her experiences and providing insight into the reality of being a mental health social worker. 

Looking for a new social care role? Find out what roles we currently have available by contacting our expert consultants on 0203 8929 340 or via email at [email protected].

carlette Isaac

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