Children’s Mental Health Social Worker, Hospital
I work in Children’s Mental Health in a hospital in the Niagara Region. Last March, (at the start of the Pandemic) all “in person” mental health services moved to a virtual platform. At the same time, my manager became the manager of the region’s first “Covid Testing and Assessment Clinic”. I made a decision early on that if I had an opportunity to use my social work skills and/or diversify my skills to assist my community in this pandemic, I would do it. That opportunity presented itself and I did not hesitate to make the move. I approached my manager and offered assistance in the Testing Clinic. My offer was accepted and I was on the “Team,” and by the next day I was “frontline,” dressed in scrubs and full P.P.E.
This frontline social work experience challenged me in ways I never expected it to . . . it was unnerving and overwhelming at the start but rewarding in many ways too. I adjusted to the routine of this new role, working together with an amazing team of brave nurses, doctors, environmental service staff, clerical, managers, security and allied health. I remained in this role until the Summer when I then returned to my regular outpatient mental health position. I believe I had the opportunity to challenge myself during the early days of the pandemic, to face fears and demonstrate courage through doing what I could - what I love as a Social Worker to make a difference for the people in my community.
When I think of the people I have worked alongside this year, the social workers in my community, the Covid Testing Team and our hospital staff-they continued to shine like stars even on the toughest days. I don't know how much longer this pandemic will continue however I know we will get through it. Sometimes, just knowing you are not alone is what makes all of the difference.