The Study Will Affect Your Social Life but It's Worth It! RACHEL WILLIS Is a Second-Year Social Work Masters Degree Student at Cardiff University. She Is Currently Completing a Practice Learning Opportunity with a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service. Rachel Tells Us about Her Work Experience and How She Hopes It Will Help Her Develop a Career Working with Children and Young People
Byline: RACHEL WILLIS
Tell us a little bit about your background in social work
I started as an adolescent support worker for children who are looked after by the local authority. My job involved taking young people to see their parents, supporting them in school, their foster placements or residential placements, and to do activities. I then got a job, in the same team, as an Assessor Care Manager. I also volunteered as a youth worker and did some sessional work with the Youth Offending Team before starting the course.
Where are you doing your practice learning opportunity (PLO)?
My 80-day PLO in the first year was with a substance misuse team and my current PLO is split between the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) and the Primary Mental Health team (PMH).
Tell us about the service and what it does
CAMHS works with children and young people up to eighteen years who are in full-time education. It is a multi-disciplinary team made up of doctors, nurse s, social workers and family therapists. Children visit the service for all kinds of reasons such as difficulties in school, problems sleeping, anger management or any mental and emotional distress. They could see anyone in the team for an assessment and a plan is then put together with the child and the parents.
The PMH team also works with children and young people up to 18 years old but have a more preventative role. They see children in clinics, their school or home on a short-term basis. They run a consultation service and professionals can contact them for advice. They have an educative role, putting on training for professionals such as teachers, nurses, health visitors and social workers. They also work with teachers in school groups and personal, social and health education (PSHE) lessons focusing on mental health issues. The aim is to help young people modify their behaviour via education about consequences, mood and attitude in a respectful and non-judge mental manner that is both fun and encourages their participation and co-operation.
I have a practice teacher in each team and they are both social work therapists.
What are your main roles and responsibilities there?
I have to see some of the children and young people with other professionals or on a one-toone basis. …