Tiffany

Inpatient Mental Health Worker, Hospital

COVID-19 has definitely impacted my personal and professional life, but it has not defeated my sense of hope and resiliency. It has already afforded us new opportunities to support the needs of the people during times when they have needed support most. If anything comes out of this experience, I hope we learn a little bit more about ourselves in respect to how we cope with trauma. Remember, you are not alone. You are strong. You are resilient.

Hiba

Family, Children & Youth
Mental Health
& Women’s Health, Hospital

Like many, my work/life balance can be tough at times. Some days I feel happy other days I feel drained. I definitely find it stressful but I try my best to stay on top of things and represent the field of social work through advocacy, empathy and active listening. Every client in the community has their own unique journey and story, but we are sharing this experience together. Being able to provide expertise and resources when they need it most, recognize what the client is going through and empathize. At the end of the day, we are all human beings. Being a social worker has always been rewarding, being able to spotlight our support of our clients during Social Work Week is especially appreciated and rewarding this year.

Vinita

Mental Health

COVID 19 has illuminated the need for mental health services. Many have lost their jobs, have financial stresses and additional responsibilities (e.g. kids are studying online). I am providing crisis counseling services at all hours (sometimes early morning from 2am to 7). My “on call” shifts have also increased in some instances. Leaders within organizations are regularly contacting me for coaching and consulting services. Social Workers are essential frontline workers who provide holistic supports and conduct in-depth assessments that help individuals, families, groups and communities. My message of hope is that we continue to strengthen our bonds through collaboration and solidarity. The professional practice network has been very helpful as clinicians actively share resources. We all need each other for support and to make a difference in this world.

Krista

Three words sum up the last 12 months: stressful, humbling, grateful. There is no balance at times, only mindful moments. I appreciate the stress my clients are experiencing because it is a shared human condition. As a social worker I have been able to support my clients by leaning on fellow colleagues for peer and personal support. I am forever grateful to have a community of social workers available to support my own mental well-being. We share common goals of connecting to our clients, striving to understand their unique circumstances and discovering how we can be helpful together. It's been very humbling and rewarding work. A recent highlight was witnessing a students' amazement when he discovered that his ADHD is a superpower he didn't know about! A small moment in a child's life, what a privilege to share it. As a social worker I can help clients realize their inner strength, support them to reduce stress in their lives and help them find ways to connect to others. Everyone has a superpower, and Social Workers help you find it!

Laura

Within my home community of Keene ON, we’ve been adapting to enable people to connect with one another (while still following protocols). We have been moving our events online; this includes Coffee hours, Talent Auctions, Learn and Leisure times, Kids Clubs and PA days, Sunday Services, Meetings, book launches. Another focus has been helping provide access to devices and help community members use them so they can feel connected to others. there have been many laughs and some tears as we navigate the world of zoom. With technology, we have been able to host online learning sessions, Learn and Leisures times, where community members share their gifts and talents: photography, birdwatching, local authors. We have had to get creative in how we come together and support one another outdoors including distanced porch visits, community walks, community gatherings in large spaces. Many of our community members have also found a new love for winter activities: walks, sledding, snow shoeing. Coming together is so important. People need people. This has been a community drive to support peoples spiritual, emotional, mental and physical needs.

Rochelle

Private Practice

Our community in NW Ontario has always had its own set of challenges. With COVID-19 there an increasing need for mental health services for all ages. Unfortunately, organizations are overwhelmed leading to long wait times for individuals. Part of the incredible part of COVID-19 is the ability to collaborate with other practitioners to ensure that individuals are not waiting for services. It means stepping out of our own practice and seeing how we can help others. I recently connected with another social worker to see how I could help. I collaborated so that we could address waitlists and see individuals as soon as possible.

Alice

Addictions & Mental Health,
Children & Youth School Social Work
Women’s Health

Throughout the pandemic, I have visited five fly-in remote First Nations communities as an essential worker. Despite the limitations of COVID-19, my team and I were successful in our ability to foster a therapeutic healing space where participants were guided safely to share and heal. As a team, we affected the community’s ability to move forward. Our ‘sharing’ and presence was of value, and being an essential worker has provided the much-needed skills to ensure the well-being of First Nations families and communities.

Carolyn

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.

Lori

Access to Services is at an all-time low given the number of people struggling it’s had a ripple effect trying to keep up with the demand. My training in mental health is invaluable as I look to find my own balance what has become a moment of great need. Clients who are homeless, living in poverty, and don't have phones or computers are suffering the most as they have no zoom or phone availability are among the most vulnerable and are those I serve. I have been operating as an essential service to be available to these individuals. The most beneficial resource has been the access to free training and the connection with others in private practice. There were people there to help me along the way and now I strive to be the helper others feel safe with. My message of hope is "be where your feet are" in the moment, in gratitude, in knowing this too shall pass. We can face anything when we face it together. I've seen a lot of individuals get through crisis during COVID and I've seen so much resiliency through it all.