The Arizona State Hospital (ASH) connects patients with more than highly trained professionals dedicated to providing quality care. It provides a bridge to the community that helps patients continue their wellness journey after they’re discharged from the hospital.
That’s where psychiatric social workers like Gabriela Reyes come in. Reyes and other social workers not only provide services to patients throughout their treatment at ASH, they act as liaisons between patients and their support systems in the community, including friends, family, and outpatient providers.
Social Work staff at ASH provide services to patients throughout their courses of treatment. That includes conducting recovery-oriented assessments, identifying individualized treatment goals, and providing weekly group and individual therapy sessions.
“The flexibility we have at the hospital allows us to do the clinical work and psychotherapy our patients need,” Reyes says. “It allows us to take our time and see the growth in our patients (and) meet our patients where they are and work on their individual treatment needs at a pace that is appropriate for them.”
Reyes and the Social Work team also provide assistance to help patients continue their recovery after they leave the hospital. That can include working with families and friends for patients with strong support systems. For others, it can mean working with community organizations that specialize in helping those overcoming mental health or substance-use challenges, and community groups that offer vocational programs including job training and employment opportunities.
Reyes said her ability to speak fluently in both Spanish and English allows her to put patients at ease. “Being bilingual has allowed me to have an inviting presence for both patients and family,” she says. “You can hear a sigh of relief in their voice when they discover that you can understand them in their native language.”
Reyes takes pride that her role as a social worker allows her to serve patients during and after their time at ASH.
“Social workers are a valuable part of the treatment team as clinicians with a vast variety of experience and knowledge,” she says. “We are like the glue that keeps all the puzzle pieces together. We keep the patients and all aspects of their lives in mind in everything that we do.”