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Social Work Week and Month: Karen

March is National Social Work Month, with Social Work Week running from March 1st through 7th. In honour of these events, we decided to share profiles of some of the great Social Workers that make up the awesome team here at CMHA York Region and South Simcoe. Enjoy!


1. Why did you decided to become a Social Worker?

I decided to become a social worker while I was working on my PhD in the field of education.  I was volunteering at a mental health agency, working with queer and trans youth with disabilities.  While I love and strongly believe in the work of education, I realized that my passion is really working directly with people.  I left my PhD program and applied for a Master of Social Work.  It was the best decision I ever made.

2. What do you love most about being a Social Worker?

I love the work of getting to know people.  We all look at the world through different lenses. As a clinical social worker, I see it as my job to understand how each person experiences their internal and external worlds.

3. What does a day at work look like for you?

A day at work usually involves many client sessions.  I provide clinical social work to clients of the Gender Affirming Health Clinic (people who identify as trans or gender diverse) as well as to clients in the Flexible Support Program (people with mental health diagnoses who are homeless or at risk of losing their housing).  

4. Why do you think that Social Work Week and Month is important?

Social workers work in a variety of settings with a variety of roles.  Social Work Week and Month provides an opportunity to learn more about what social workers do and to acknowledge their contributions.  Social workers are often advocating and providing resources for the most marginalized members of our society.

5. How has social work changed with COVID-19?

COVID-19 has moved social work online.  I was always resistant to the idea of online clinical social work, because I believed there was so much that would not translate on screen.  However, I have been pleasantly surprised.  Clinical social work online is quite effective and makes it more accessible to those who have the technology.  It eliminates the need for travel, a barrier for so many marginalized folks.  However, for those without access to technology or personal phones, I think COVID-19 has made accessing services even more difficult, since so much social work has been taken out of the community and put online.  Hopefully, we will soon be able to offer social work in the community and online so it is accessible for all.

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