World Social Work Day
World Social Work Day is a time to celebrate the profession and promote the great work social workers do for people within our communities who are often struggling and stigmatised. In honour of this year's Social Worker Day, we talked to Turning Point Social Worker, Piritta Murfett.
Being a social worker has always appealed to Piritta, as it allows her to work with the most vulnerable groups in society.
“When I was young, I really wanted to work with children…and I also wanted to work with vulnerable people, so I thought social work would be a good mix,” she said.
Whilst studying at Monash University, Piritta worked as a Telephone Online Services (TOLS) counsellor at Turning Point. After graduating in 2008, she became a social worker and has been at Turning Point ever since. Piritta also worked in child protection for nine years.
Although there are many challenges that come with the job, Piritta has enjoyed her 15 year career as a social worker.
“Social workers work with groups of people who are disenfranchised and need support. We work with them to put in place structures that support them to manage their life. As social workers we undertake many roles, but I really enjoy the social justice and advocacy aspect of it.”
Gaining specialised knowledge in the AOD sector
Working at Turning Point has allowed Piritta to gain specialised knowledge in the AOD sector and be involved in changing the system to help support those with addiction.
“I have enjoyed working at Turning Point for so long because the work we do aligns with my values. Also Turning Point does not just provide treatment, we also do research, education and advocacy and being a part of that is great.”
Recently, Piritta has been working with students who are completing their social work placement and has found providing them with specialised knowledge very rewarding.
“As a social worker you learn snippets from different sectors because you might work in health, child protection, AOD, or mental health. It isn’t until you get a job that you gain that specialised knowledge. So, gaining that specialised knowledge when you study it is really important because it makes the adjustment from student to social worker smoother.”
“It’s a fantastic opportunity, even for students that go on to work in different fields, because they’ll have transferable skills and will be able to work with clients who may be struggling with addiction and will know where to refer them to.”
The importance of Social Work Day
For Piritta World Social Work Day is a great opportunity to celebrate the profession.
“It is an amazing profession and a much needed one as well, especially now.”
According to Better Health Channel about 35 per cent of Australians with a substance use disorder also experience any mental health disorder.
“It is great to have a large cohort of social workers at Turning Point because one of the biggest challenges with social work is having a large caseload. Usually, we are working with people with complex needs and dual diagnosis so we need more time to work with them.”
Want to work at Turning Point? We currently have several amazing opportunities which you can view here.