Alliyah Patton, LSW – Youth First Social Worker at North High School in Vanderburgh County
Q: What called you to become a social worker?
A: I think some of the best social workers have been through quite a bit themselves. I wished I had someone to talk to about the anxiety I felt through high school. I didn’t know what exactly social anxiety was at the time, which caused me to feel isolated from everyone else. When I took classes in college, it was enlightening and validating to know there was a name for what I felt. After a few more courses, I realized I didn’t want anyone else to feel that lonely either.
Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
A: I could write a list of the amazing interactions I have with students each day. One of the most rewarding aspects of the job is seeing the resiliency and strength of our students. They have every reason in the world to quit and give up, but everyday they keep working and trying. I can never not be inspired and humbled by them. From there, it’s amazing to see their growth once they develop the skills to maneuver through each of their situations.
Q: In what ways has the Covid-19 pandemic affected youth mental health?
A: I see a lot more anxiety within high school students now and definitely an increase in avoidant behaviors (skipping, poor attendance, lack of motivation). Their school schedule has been disrupted and they’ve been isolated from one another. Now, we are expecting them to come back and continue, like nothing really happened. It’s been a hard and difficult transition, for sure.