Mental Health Work Placement
Open Polytechnic Bachelor of Social Work student, Janet Meyer, enjoyed her three month work placement as part of her degree studies. Story and photo courtesy of South Canterbury District Health Board.
Janet Meyer completed a three month social work placement under the supervision of Grace Penetrante. The two recount the experience in an extract of an interview below and reflect on the role of social workers in mental health.
Janet Meyer “Everything went really well. A few surprises but nothing of significance. I thought I knew a lot more than I did. When it came to case notes and things at the beginning I struggled, even with things just like spelling after being on the computer for four years and all of a sudden I had to start spelling properly!”
Grace Penetrante “It was really helpful for Janet to study with us, especially in learning what social work is all about. Janet was able to experience a lot of different areas, from mild to moderate mental health with Adventure Development, to moderate and severe mental health in Kensington inpatient unit. She was able to work with infants and kids in iCHAMS, through to working with the elderly in AT&R. She came a long way.”
Janet Meyer “I've really enjoyed my time here and am very thankful that Maria (Parish) let me do this. It was a very long placement. The orientation has been immense. I really enjoyed the MDT meetings and psychiatrists. There just wasn't a bad word to say, it all went really well.”
Grace Penetrante “As a supervisor it was a challenge for me in terms of education. I am thankful to the other social workers inside and outside the DHB who helped Janet out.
Mental health is often stigmatised and labelled but it is a good experience for us all. Students would really benefit from completing a work placement in mental health as it will help them become more flexible and resilient and more understanding of the patients that we are working with. Even though they have mental health conditions it's our role as social workers to make sure that we still respond to their needs and their families as well.”
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