“I love seeing people flourish, and wanted a career that would push me to keep challenging myself and learning” – Think Ahead alum tells Professional Social Work magazine
In this thoughtfully written piece, Think Ahead alum Mariah Wilde describes her humbling experience as a mental health social worker and the lessons she has learnt from the people she has worked with.
With dignity and respect forming her guiding principles for mental health, Mariah firmly believes that people are experts on their own experience. She reflects upon the importance of an individual’s voice and their involvement in any help they receive, and reminds us that professionals should have the humility to learn from individuals as the experts of their own experience.
Mariah left the arts sector to become a social worker two years ago, because she wanted to support people living with what she describes as the “silent battle” of mental health problems: “I love seeing people flourish… When you’re in the business of human beings, every day is different and it’s the unpredictability of growth that keeps things stimulating”.
She stresses that a diagnosis does not and should never define someone, warning that “receiving a mental health diagnosis can be a welcomed relief for some, and a burdensome sentence for others… If you have been given a diagnosis of ‘PTSD’ for example, you as an individual are not PTSD, PTSD is something you experience but the label does not define you.”
Read the full article on the British Association of Social Workers website
Challenging stigma, discrimination and general misunderstanding of mental health throughout the article, Mariah also takes the opportunity to unpick the many different ways people can experience individual or collective trauma dependent on their values and life experiences.
She goes on to encourage us all to: “Be careful if someone discloses something that they perceive as traumatic that you may not. Different people experience grief, divorce, becoming a parent or changing to a new job differently.
“It is not always possible to anticipate someone’s triggers but we can be aware of this complexity and be kind to one another.”
Mariah is a mental health social worker and blogger in south west London. More of her writing can be read at riahwrites.com or on Twitter as @riah_writes.