A life­time of help­ing oth­ers

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Health -

EVEN though Fran McGrath has re­cently been named WA’s 2015 So­cial Worker of the Year, she said she was still learn­ing from her clients about their shared hu­man­ity.

The Neu­ro­sciences Unit so­cial worker at Gray­lands Hos­pi­tal also won the Head, Heart and Hands award, which recog­nises her life­time achieve­ments as an out­stand­ing so­cial worker.

Mrs McGrath said she felt the awards were an hon­our and val­i­da­tion of her life's work.

“I de­cided to be­come a so­cial worker when aged about 24 af­ter a few years of teach­ing at high school in Ade­laide,” she said.

“I taught both aca­dem­i­cally gifted chil­dren and oth­ers who pre­sented with sig­nif­i­cant be­havioural prob­lems.

“It was in work­ing with the lat­ter that I came to un­der­stand that a per­son’s con­text or history was so im­por­tant and that so­cial work would en­able me to work with peo­ple in a dif­fer­ent way.”

Mrs McGrath has worked as a se­nior so­cial worker at Gray­lands Hos­pi­tal for more than 23 years.

She said her work had not only helped the lives of oth­ers, but en­riched her own by mar­ry­ing her three main pas­sions of so­cial jus­tice, psy­chol­ogy and spir­i­tu­al­ity.

“I have found my work so re­ward­ing and never thought of do­ing any­thing else,” Mrs McGrath said.

“There is not much sep­a­ra­tion be­tween who I am and what I do, which is very sat­is­fy­ing.”

Princess Mar­garet Hos­pi­tal so­cial worker Kat Broad won the Ris­ing Star award and WA Health Al­co­hol and Other Drugs coun­sel­lor Leanne Mirra­bella won the Agent of Change award.

Depart­ment for Child Pro­tec­tion and Fam­ily Sup­port di­rec­tor-gen­eral Emma White, win­ner Fran McGrath, So­cial Worker of the Year pa­tron Jan Stewart and Men­tal Health Min­is­ter He­len Mor­ton.

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