By Linda Lauzon, Park Ridge Health Home Health
Social Workers stand up for millions of people every day. These include people who are experiencing devastating illnesses and mental health crisis, our veterans, children, families and communities. Yet, many people still misunderstand who social workers are and the invaluable contributions they bring to society.
The primary mission of the Social Work profession is to enhance well-being and help meet the basic needs of all people, especially the most vulnerable in society.
Social Workers serve, advocate for, and empower millions of Americans each day. They do this by working with individuals and organizations, along with local and federal government to improve communities, and protect the environment.
Social Work is one of the fastest growing careers in the United States with nearly 650,000 members of the profession. Social Workers serve in all areas of our society to improve happiness, health and prosperity. Their efforts impact government, schools, universities, social service agencies, communities and the military, as well as, mental health and health care facilities. For decades, Social Workers have pushed to ensure equal rights for all, including women, people who are disabled, people who are LGBTQ and various ethnic, cultural, racial and religious groups.
Social Workers have been behind and continue to advocate for legislation and policies that reduce racial discord. They have been instrumental in securing the Voting Rights Act, The Violence Against Women’s Act, The Civil Rights Act, the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, workplace safety and Social Security benefits.
Social Workers are the largest group of mental health care providers in the United States, and work daily to help people overcome substance use disorders and mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety.
Social Workers deploy across the United States and the world, helping people overcome earthquakes, floods, wars and other disasters and return to peace and prosperity.
Social workers help people solve and cope with problems in their everyday lives.
Although all social workers work to help people improve their lives in some way, the services they can provide often differ. The title held by a social worker can vary in different countries and even among states in the US, but two of the most common types are direct-service social workers and licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs).
Direct-service social workers help people deal with the challenges in their day-to-day lives. The exact services they provide depends on where they work, but this professional often works to find a client's strengths and weaknesses and develop a plan to achieve his or her goals. This can involve helping someone deal with a financial crisis, a housing emergency, or an expected medical diagnosis. They often work with people in crisis situations, and then follow up with them to make sure that the situation has improved.
Clinical social workers (licensed clinical social workers) generally help address mental health problems. Because their services are rather wide-ranging, they may be employed in a variety of settings including government agencies, nonprofits, schools and hospitals.
Caregivers of loved ones can benefit tremendously with the help of a social worker to discover support services in your community to help you care for your loved one.