What Aditi enjoyed most about her placement in Mount Isa was the stress-free and supportive environment. “The whole vibe at headspace is very positive. Everybody is relaxed and easy to work with.”
As headspace is a free health service for 12 to 25-year-olds, most of the clients come in after school. “A lot of them were coming in for a yarn and to have a chat. They just need somebody to talk to,” Aditi says. In terms of work pressure, she adds, “sometimes appointments were back-to-back, but there would be days when we had only a few people in.”
Conversations by the coffee cart
Headspace doesn’t only invite their young clients in, they also go out into the community. “We would take our coffee cart into the community, and wait for the people to come. We would serve free coffee for the grown-ups, and hot chocolate for the children,” Aditi says.
“It's a way of initiating a conversation while we were making them a cup of coffee or hot chocolate. We were hoping that maybe some of them wanted to come in for a chat later,” says Aditi, who enjoyed doing community work from the coffee cart. “It was a brilliant strategy, to get the conversation started about mental health and neutralise the stigma attached to it.”
Social Work students getting to know the real Australia
Overall, Aditi found that living and working in Mount Isa was a great experience. “Moving to rural and regional areas for placement allows international students like me to better understand Australian realities outside of large cities,” Aditi says. “In future, I am hoping to draw from these experiences in helping my clients.”
Going into the second placement with confidence
When it comes to her second placement at Longreach Hospital, which starts in August, Aditi says, “I also didn’t want my second placement to be a ‘typical experience’.” Again, she wanted to go somewhere rural, as she felt she could make a difference there for herself and others.
The second placement is going to be less daunting for her. “At my first placement I always had this apprehension: was I doing the right thing? Now I am much more confident, and I just want to make most of this opportunity,” Aditi says. “Now, for me, it’s ‘come on, let’s just do this’.”
Aditi will be finished with her Master of Social Work (Professional Qualifying) in November 2021. She says she is probably not going to look for work in the big city then. “Maybe I’ll go up North again. It’s been a good experience working and exploring the country,” she says.