Social work has a crucial part to play within mental health services and mental health outcomes for individuals, families and communities. Across multidisciplinary organizations, social workers may provide new opportunities to meet people’s needs and to build new responses, transforming the lives of people with mental health conditions.
This fictional case study will explore the key elements of social work assessment, will formulate an intervention plan and articulate principles of ethical practice. This case study will also aim to identify practice challenges and strategies for such challenges.
The presenting client is a 10-year-old boy of Somali background ...view middle of the document...
The children’s medical records showed normal childhood growth and developmental milestones.
Description of the presenting problem.
Since Alem started in the school, he has presented himself as quiet and shy, but very intelligent and active boy. Two weeks ago, Alem’s teacher reported grave concerns, as he was not settling in, either socially or academically. She had also noticed he had lost weigh and always looked tired. During an after school care program, I noticed that Alem was withdrawn and sullen, he did not talk much about anything with others and did not play with other children as usual. When questioned he was tearful. Alem talked about how he misses his dad, he also talked about all the things he misses including his extended family and all his cousins. He said he cries often but does not tell his mum because she is very sick and sad. This was brought to the attention to the BCHS and an interview with Dalays was conducted. During the interview it was apparent that she was not coping well; in fact she described felling quite depressed. She then reported that Alem misses his father greatly but she thinks he is a very strong boy; she says Alem is just adjusting to the Australian life and is ‘no trouble at home’.
Subsequently, Alem was referred to the psychiatrist whom diagnosed him with childhood depression. This diagnosis was made using the children's depression Rating Scale (CDRS-R). This is a rating scale for children aged 6–12 years containing a 17-item scale whit a possible total score from 17 to 113 (Mayes, Bernstein, Haley, Kennard & Emslie, 2010). Alem’s score of ≥40 indicated depression.
Key elements of a social work assessment
According to AASW (2008), social workers make assessment and decide on the most appropriate intervention with which to respond to a particular student’s situation. Therefore, In order to decide on actions and interventions, it is necessarily for the social worker to evaluate Alem’s problems and strengths within his environment. This evaluation is build through an ongoing assessment that informs and shapes the work. In Alem’s case it is possible to say that the assessment commenced even before the fist contact with the client. Reiterating that assessment is an ongoing process that starts before meting the client, continuing right through the end and even after it ends. (Bland, Renouf, Tullgren. 2009).
In social work, the assessment emphasises on a holistic perspective that takes into account not only the individual, but also the broader social factors. AASW (2008) states that it is essential for school social workers to recognise that the student’s successful outcomes in education are influenced by personal, family, social, political and economic factors. Similarly, in a mental health assessment we focus our attention in all the aspects influencing the individual or, ‘the person in his total life space overtime’ (Hartman 1995). Likewise, psychiatrist Engel as cited by Bland,...