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Recognising hard work

Wednesday, 21st March, 2018

Social workers Mark Smith, Rebecca Deer, Devika D’Souza and Kelsey Lew met at Alfresco’s on Monday to discuss their work. Social workers Mark Smith, Rebecca Deer, Devika D’Souza and Kelsey Lew met at Alfresco’s on Monday to discuss their work.

By Kara de Groot

To celebrate World Social Work Day, some of the city’s social workers got together this week to discuss and promote their roles.

There are about 17 social workers in Broken Hill, working in a variety of different areas including mental health, youth, domestic violence and legal matters.

Social worker Mark Smith mainly deals with mental health, which involves treating emerging mental health issues, providing interventions and working with families to provide support.

“Social work is quite a young profession in Australia and people get confused about what we do and how we do it, because our roles can vary quite widely,” Mr Smith said.

“The main sort of goal with social work is helping marginalised communities, and people, who are affected by a range of problems,” he said.

“Some of us work for the RFDS, some of us are at Headspace, Lifeline, the Aboriginal Legal Service, and Centrelink, among others.

“World Social Work Day is about acknowledging the importance of social work in the community, and how important that can be for a person’s wellbeing.”

Last year more than 320,000 referrals for help were made to social workers across the country, with more than a quarter of those in relation to family and domestic violence, and one sixth to mental health issues.

Reverend Helen Ferguson spent some time as a social worker before joining the church, and said it’s great to see new graduates come to Broken Hill to help people.

“There’s a lot of work that needs to be done here, but it’s good to work with people and find their strengths and bring out the best in them,” she said.

Kelsey Lew is one of those new workers, and said that while each worker has a slightly different job, they all centre around helping others.

“We’re all doing different things depending on who we’re working for, who we’re working with, what they need. That defines what you do as a social worker,” Ms Lew said.

“I definitely think what we do is appreciated.”

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