#GSWDS2020

Helen Gray, MSW

Biography

Helen Gray was born in the UK and completed her Social Work training in Belfast Northern Ireland before later moving to Sydney Australia where she lives today. Helen commenced her career as an unqualified worker doing community relations work with at risk youth and as a support worker in the first Foyer in Northern Ireland supporting a mix of young people at risk of homelessness and students. This cemented her desire to become a Social Workers and following her Masters of Social Work at Queens University Belfast she commenced front line statutory child protection work in the Shankill Road area, in the heart of Belfast.

In 2003, Helen took a career break and having commenced work in Sydney with homeless and at risk youth she secured sponsorship, remained in Australia and has since become an Australian Citizen. In Sydney, working for a small youth foundation Helen thrived in program development and management of an Australian Foyer model youth accommodation service. Funding decisions along the way resulted in her closing this Foundation in 2012 after being a working Director on the Board for a number of years.

Necessity brought Helen back into full time work in the child and family support arena and due to role creep this resulted in collaborative work with the Australian Family and Community Services statutory social work and families subject to Risk of Significant Harm reports. Whilst loving elements of the management role, Helen experienced professional breakdown and burnout in 2015 and in June 2016 was signed off as unable to work in her Social Work role due to Mental Health concerns. This was the start of an ongoing journey of recovery and learning which has led

Helen to opening her own training practice supporting other Social Workers to gain awareness, knowledge, and skills to prevent the impacts of burnout and promote professional sustainability. Helen launched her first online specialized support program for Social Workers in 2019 and is keen to raise awareness about the issues of Moral Distress, Vicarious Trauma, and Burnout in the Social Work profession.

All sessions by Helen Gray, MSW