Victoria H. — who shall remain anonymous for safety reasons — is a licensed graduate social worker (LGSW) working with the Baltimore County Crisis Response Team, which is comprised of approximately eight full-time police officers and two other full-time social workers who respond to calls in teams. Victoria graduated from West Virginia University with a B.S. in social work and, as part of a study abroad program, spent time in Vietnam and Cambodia focusing on child sex trafficking in that area. She later obtained an M.S.W. from the University of Maryland School of Social Work and is a certified crisis worker by the American Association of Suicidology.
What inspired you to enter social work?
“I was adopted from Chile by a wonderful family and grew up in Northern Baltimore County. My parents gave me a second chance, although my biological mother made that possible by selflessly wanting more for me. My motivation to enter social work was to not only help, support and serve, but to also give back as my family taught me by example.”
How does your educational background relate to your current role?
“During my six years of study to become a social worker, I was required to have a number of internships, and, in my case, these were in either community-based psychiatric services or in mental health services delivered by a mobile team. For example, one was the Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) team in Baltimore City, comprised of a team of interdisciplinary specialists who served those with chronic mental illness. Collectively, these experiences and my academic training provided a strong foundation for my work with the Mobile Crisis Team.”
What does it take to be a successful social worker?
“It is important to be flexible, especially in crisis intervention, and creative — what may work with one client may not with another. You must have patience, be diligent and mentally agile, empathetic, and possess willingness and motivation to help and support those in need. All of these attributes are important, because each client we come into contact with is an individual and their crisis, their stories are always different. No two calls are the same.”
What is some advice you can offer others interested in social work?
“Be ready to work hard, be able to advocate for others, be able to take care of yourself mentally and physically, have a strong support system, be excited, stay motivated, stay in school, and always strive for improvement. My mom always said to me, ‘Your education is the only thing that no one else can take away from you.’ She was right, and I couldn’t be happier in my career working with the dedicated and amazing members of the Baltimore County Mobile Crisis Team.”
Susan Brown originally spent many years in banking/finance before confronting her addictions. She has now been in recovery for 20 years.
Primary interests include metaphysics and energy healing in which she has several certifications. She has written for Examiner.com since 2009 and also writes for Om Times. Sue lives in Baltimore.