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Social Work Social Podcast: Breaking Down Mental Health Treatment

What do you automatically think of when you think about what a social worker does? What’s the first thing that comes to mind? 

If you’re like most people I’ve spoken to, you probably thought about child welfare. Most often social workers are associated with professionals, usually women, who go into family homes and protect children who are being abused or neglected. There are absolutely many social workers who are child welfare workers and do exactly that. However, social workers are diverse people found in unexpected places, doing unexpected jobs. Supporting mental health is something less well known that social workers do in many different ways!

My name is Melanie Matthews and I am a social worker. I have never worked in child welfare (although I have deep respect for the social workers who have dedicated themselves to that difficult job!) but rather I’ve worked in mental health for my entire 10 year career. I’ve supported children who had a difficult time concentrating at school because of ADHD, provided counselling to university students feeling anxious about being away from home for the first time, done crisis intervention for people experiencing thoughts of suicide, and many, many other things. People experience all kinds of issues related to their mental health and I’ve seen first hand how everyone needs different support! 

The Social Work Social Podcast was born out of the idea that by talking about less traditional mental health treatment options provided by unexpected mental health practitioners would provide more context to the diverse ways that a person can receive support. So, I decided that I wanted to get the voices of social workers out into the world to show how we can help provide that support! I considered lots of different ways to spread this message but ultimately thought what better way to share the voices of social workers than literally taking our voices and putting them on the internet for anyone to listen to? So, I gathered together a group of six social workers (figuratively, of course! Luckily, podcasts can be recorded completely virtually so no social distancing measures were broken!) to talk about mental health on the Social Work Social Podcast. These social workers were all very different people from different backgrounds and worked in completely different jobs. The one thing they all had in common is they all worked to support people with their mental health! 

Together, these social workers and I created 12 podcast episodes that provided information, and shared stories about mental health and mental health treatment. We talked about why we became social workers and what we do now in our jobs. We hope that what we shared will help people not only better understand social workers and how we support mental health, but also that these stories will spark open, supportive conversations about mental health treatment. Many people still experience stigma when they seek mental health treatment but there is absolutely nothing wrong with reaching out for help for mental health! Everyone deserves the support they need!

You can follow the Social Work Social on Facebook at @socialworksocial or Instagram at @socialworksocialpodcast. You can also listen to the podcast on Anchor FM and on Spotify. New episodes are added every Friday from November 13, 2020 to January 29, 2021!

I am so very grateful to the mentorship support from mindyourmind that helped complete this project as well as the Rising Youth grant that financially supported this project. As well, I’d like to thank the extraordinary youth and social workers who pulled together to make this podcast a reality. A wise friend once told me, one hand can’t clap. Very few things can be accomplished entirely alone so the community and personal support I received was eternally valuable.

Check out the Social Work Social on Spotify or on Anchor FM