Episode 12: Working with Young People. Talking school refusal and balancing teachers, parents and young people’s differing needs.

In this episode, Sarah and I talk about the challenges of working with schools and balancing wellbeing and student academic outcomes. Sarah shares some of the various programs some schools are implementing to support students with their wellbeing and mental health. We discuss the impact of being in a caring role and supporting those around us, Sarah shares her self care tips and how to set boundaries with those around you, so you’re not a ‘social worker’ 24 hours a day. 

Sarah completed her Bachelor of SW in 2006, and has worked in the community sector over the last 13 years. Sarah has worked mostly with children and adolescents, starting her career working with youth at risk of homelessness and going on to fulfil a range of different roles at various not-for-profit organisations, community health services and tertiary education providers.

Sarah has experience in case management, counselling, group work, and delivering school based programs. One of my most rewarding roles was providing counselling to children and adolescents impacted by the 2009 Victorian Bushfires. Sarah is currently working in a community health setting where she supports schools to help students remain engaged in their education. She is particularly interested in early intervention approaches to working with children and adolescents.

Some of the things we talked about in this episode

  • Some reasons for disengagement  from school
    • Carer responsibilities for students
  • Working with students and anxiety
  • Supporting teachers in professional development – Youth MHFA
  • Animal assisted therapy
  • Working with key stakeholders
    • challenging to balance the needs of all the individual students, their needs etc
  • Things Sarah wishes she knew then that she knows now
    • that she sought out 
      • Mentors – asking yourself can I learn from this person, can they be a positive mentor to me
      • Peers
      • Good supervisors 
  • Setting boundaries – being a social worker 
    • Don’t have to be a social worker 24hrs a day
  • How to up-skill when working in schools or with young people
    • Understanding trauma and trauma-informed practice
    • Secondary consultation
  • Mental health service provider
  • Local CASA etc
  • Linking in with external services in your area
  • The importance of self-care – do what you need to look after yourself 

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