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Full name: Alexandra Wilson

Role and company: Accredited Mental Health Social Worker and owner of Mindful Recovery Services.

What do you love and/or inspires you most about being a social worker?

What inspires me most in my job is how much courage people have when they reach out for help. Coming to see someone like myself can be scary and daunting. But people show such willingness to share the most personal aspects of their lives with me - and that feels like a privilege to share in.

I am particularly inspired by young people, who face a multitude of challenges in our society today. It’s not easy, but it’s really wonderful to see them come through a tough time and flourish.

Who has been the most inspiring role model in your career and why?

I’ve been lucky to have had a number of inspiring role models in my career. I had a wonderful group of social workers as my supervisors when I was a student - they taught me a huge amount about what it’s really like to work as a social worker. They also taught me that it’s important to keep a sense of humour in our profession - it helps with the stress!

I’ve also worked with a couple of psychiatrists who were real advocates for reducing the stigma around mental illness within healthcare and the community. They were inspiring to me in how much knowledge they had, and how much they truly cared for their patients.

What is the best advice you can give to someone starting out in their career?

Try lots of different things! I’ve been lucky to have had opportunities to work in many different settings - from Emergency Departments and ICUs, to general medical wards, community mental health teams, inpatient units and most recently private practice. Each of these settings has given me important knowledge and perspective about how the entire mental health system functions - and some of the challenges patients and professionals face.

So I would encourage new social workers to get diverse experience where they can. Don’t be afraid to put your hand up for a different role, or develop new knowledge in another area. Volunteer for extra work - it also allows you to meet new people in your field. Job security is great - but varied experience is invaluable.

If you could have dinner with anyone living or dead, who would it be and why?

Louis Theroux - because he has such a genuine interest in people and has so much knowledge in different aspects of people and society through his reporting. I love his interviews with people who are controversial in our society, such as people who have committed serious crimes, or hold controversial political views. I Iove how he tries to really understand their perspective - without judging them - even though he doesn’t agree with many of their views. I enjoy people who have a genuine interest in other people - as I do. I think he would have a lot of good stories and insights to share.

 

AASW WA Branch Trauma Informed Care Symposium

 

Perth city skyline and river

AASW’s WA Branch is hosting the Trauma Informed Care Symposium: structuring recovery, creating healing spaces on the 9 November 2018, Parmelia Hilton, Perth. This will be one of the leading Trauma Informed Care events for Western Australia in 2018, with three respected thought leaders in their field speaking on the day: Dr Alicia Boccellari, Christine Craik and Dr Ann O’Neill. 

It will be followed by the AASW's Annual General Meeting at 5.00pm.

For more information and to register, please visit our website.

 

2018 Mental Health Super Summit

 

The 2018 Mental Health Super Summit is a webinar-based online conference and charity fundraiser event co-hosted by the Mental Healthy Academy and the Act for Kids charity.

The event will be delivered via 15 live webinar sessions from Friday, 5 October to Sunday, 7 October and will continue as an on-demand event (i.e. you can watch recorded versions of the live sessions) until Sunday, 21 October.

Topics will include:

  • Strengths in therapy
  • Counselling clients with chronic medical conditions
  • Changed behaviours and psychological symptoms in dementia
  • The therapeutic relationship in CBT
  • Mindfulness and dreams
  • The need for trauma-sensitive mindfulness

Where and when
5-21 October 2018, online

Cost
You choose the price to pay, starting from just $50.
All proceeds from the 2018 Mental Health Super Summit go to the Australian charity, Act for Kids.

Registration and enquiries

 

Schools need to teach pupils skills to maintain good mental health – here’s how

 

Schools are often where children’s and adolescents’ mental health problems are identified. While there is ever growing demand for mental health support for pupils, such as in-school counselling and mentoring, the focus now – just like for any health problem – should be more on prevention than intervention.

Prevention makes sense financially, given that specialist mental health services for children and adolescents are currently overloaded, with long waiting lists. More importantly, helping young people develop traits, skills and strategies to protect their mental health can have a lifelong positive impact. And if mental health skills are broadly taught in schools and applied by pupils in a supportive learning context (and where possible also involve family, and are put into practice outside school) the health improvements could, in time, benefit the whole population.

Read more on The Conversation.

 

Technology and good intentions undermine mental health of young

 

- Claire Lehmann, The Australian

When I met professor of psychology Jonathan Haidt in June last year, he spoke about his latest book project in tones of quiet ­despair. He was worried about the campus unrest that had been making headlines around the US, but he was also concerned that efforts to try and stem the problem were just as likely to make it worse.

Co-authored with Greg Lukia­noff — a civil liberties lawyer who represents students and academics who have had their free speech curtailed in the US — The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas are Setting a Generation Up for Failure has been released in the US and Britain this week to an overwhelmingly positive ­reception.

Yet the information that the book presents is not positive at all: it is alarming. It documents a trend of deteriorating mental health in young American adults — attributed to technology, helicopter parenting and a range of misguided ideas that have permeated the American education system as well as the broader culture.

The bizarre behaviours seen on college campuses such as the “no-platforming” of speakers and demands for safe spaces and ­trigger warnings are explained through the lens of a decline in psychological resilience.

For Australians, the book should serve as a cautionary tale. While there are protective factors that prevent us from having the same problems as the US, there are also parallels.

 

Have you graduated in the last five years? Participate in research

 

Does the social work curriculum adequately prepare social work practitioners to work with individuals from (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression, and Sex Character) SOGIESC minority groups?

If you are a social worker who has graduated in the last five years, you are invited to participate in research.

Find out more on our website.

Complete the questionnaire by 30 September.

 

New short film series from ReachOut: 'Reach Out Before You Freak Out'

 

At ReachOut we've been working with young people to create a new series of short films that delve into their worlds to show them that things can be better, and that they have the power to help themselves. It's called Reach Out Before You Freak Out.

Supporting teaching resource for Years 9–12

This video series is supported by four 20-minute curriculum-mapped classroom activities (incorporating the videos), designed to help young people figure out how to deal with whatever life throws at them. These short lessons, based on Visible Thinking methodology, are an ideal way to create meaningful discussions in homeroom and wellbeing lessons. Get the resource via ReachOut Schools (login required), or check out the attached PDF. It would be great if you could share this free resource with your schools contacts by sending them this link:

More about the short films

They're based on young people's feedback: they told us they love stories, they want to feel connected to their peers, and they want to find hope in sharing their successes. So we’ve made sure that young people are at the centre of this series, telling their own stories of self-help and seeking help early.

Each short film is mapped to one of six domains in their lives: friendships, home life, life online, relationships, the future and school life. Covering topics from school and careers, to dealing with toxic friendships and how to talk to someone you trust, the new video stories are being promoted through a national media campaign and have been embedded in ReachOut.com so that young people can immediately connect with self-help information

It’d be awesome if you could help extend the reach of these stories by sharing them on Facebook, with young people, and with teachers and schools wherever you can.

Facebook links

Read more on the Reach Out website.

 

SBS tackles mental illness stigma with new two-part series

 
   

SBS’s upcoming two-part documentary on mental illness, How ‘Mad’ Are You?, will premiere on the channel in October 2018.

The series, which aims to break down stigma around mental health, follows 10 Australians from all backgrounds and ages. Five have a history of mental illness and the other five do not. They spend a week together and take part in a series of specially designed tests and challenges overseen by clinical psychiatrist, Dr Steve Ellen.

Read more on Media Week.

 

AASW events

 

Australian Capital Territory

Thursday, 18 October 2018
 
Tuesday, 15 November 2018

New South Wales

Northern Territory

Friday, 16 November 2018

Victoria

Wednesday, 10 October 2018 
 
Tuesday, 30 October and Wednesday, 31 October 2018
 
13 and 14 October 2018; 20 and 21 October 2018; 27 November 2018
 
Wednesday, 28 November and Thursday, 29 November 2018

Western Australia

Saturday, 20 October 2018
 
Tuesday, 30 October 2018
 
 
 

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