Dealing with your mental need (5B Lai Nok)


  A social worker identifies people and communities in need and works for social services or for a private organization providing help and support for people who need it. The Young Post meets Chelsea Lai, who works as a child and family social worker.

Requirements and qualifications

  You should complete a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work or a related field. If you are sure that the social work profession will be your final goal, you could pursue a Bachelor of Social Work in your undergraduate studies. It gives you a basic understanding of the field of social work. To be financially stable as a social worker, you need a master’s degree in social work (MSW). You need to complete the fieldwork requirements. You can apply what you have learned in your courses in working with communities under supervision. There will be traditional MSW placement hours and advanced standing placement tours. The former requires 16-20 hours of field placement for about two days a week for the first year and three days a week during the second year. The latter requires 450-900 hours of fieldwork to fulfill the degree requirements.

  Speaking more than one language is an advantage. In Hong Kong, Cantonese, English, and Mandarin are essential. It allows you to understand, perceive and respond to your clients well. 

  Being a good listener is essential. Concentrate on your conversation, ask the right questions, and allow your clients to feel that they can confide in you their deep thoughts to build trust between you and your client.

Duties and responsibilities

  Social workers focus on different aspects, including child and family social workers, clinical social workers, health care social workers, and mental health social workers. Here are some typical duties among all social workers. They will first catch up on texts, calls, voicemails, and emails from clients. They will answer questions and offer assistance regarding different cases. They will make sure that there are no emergencies overnight. Constant communication allows a trusting relationship to build between my client and them. Lai will meet four to five families daily or visit some clients’ homes. She will assess clients to determine their needs and goals to help them develop, improve and overcome certain obstacles. She will also locate public assistance resources to help clients if support is needed.

Rewards and benefits

  Making a positive impact on the community is the most significant benefit for Chelsea. She enjoys solving individuals’ problems. Each case takes several weeks or even months to deal with. She feels a sense of fulfillment after dealing with each issue. This benefit is much more than a high salary.

  Moreover, there can be advances in the field. By enhancing her education and having more experience in social work, she can move up in the area to complete more advanced tasks and make critical decisions that positively impact different communities. After obtaining her MSW degree, she organized social programs to improve the lives of the community. She organized a program for teenagers on ways to communicate with their parents recently. It aims to strengthen family relationships, allowing them to share their thoughts. 

The happiest time in my career

  A few years ago, a parent was asking for help. Their 15-year-old son stayed in his room all day without speaking with his parents for more than a month. They did not have dinner together for more than a month. He ordered his meals through delivery platforms. And the time that he came out to get his food was the only moment that his parents could see him. His parents were worried that their son had some bad experience at school or anywhere but could not find someone to talk to him. 

  She dealt with this case for more than a year. At first, their son locked his door whenever she went to his home. She was patient and talked to him even if he did not open his door. One day, he came out and started to talk to her. She chatted with him and found that most of his classmates were unwilling to play with him. That’s why he met friends online and played video games with them all day. She then contacted his school’s counselor, trying to find out the reason why others were not willing to play with him. She did not tell us all the details as this is part of the client’s privacy. We only know that finally, some classmates were willing to chat with him. And he promised to play video games for no more than an hour per day. Recently, Lai contacted them. His parents told her that they chatted about different topics about their day while having dinner. She was pleased to see him change for the better and felt fulfilled by her work.