March is National Social Worker Month
How do social workers make our world better? Here are just a few of their contributions:
- Social workers are the largest group of mental health care providers in the United States, helping people overcome depression, anxiety, substance abuse and other disorders so they can lead more fulfilling lives.
- The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs employs more than 12,000 professional social workers. Social workers provide support to active duty military personnel, veterans and their families, helping them get financial and housing assistance, apply for benefits, get the best possible health care, or resolve marital or family issues.
- Child, family and school social workers provide assistance to improve the social and psychological functioning of children and their families. They may provide assistance to single parents, help children find new families through adoption, or find foster homes for children who have been neglected, abandoned or abused. Social workers in schools also work with families and the schools to ensure students reach their full academic and personal potential.
- After earthquakes, floods and other disasters social workers are on the front lines, helping survivors get needed services and handle stress and anxiety. In fact, more than 40 percent of mental health volunteers trained by the Red Cross are social workers. Social workers are also active in organizations such as
- Doctors Without Borders that address disasters that occur abroad.
- Social workers work with community organizations, legislators, the public and others to ensure equal rights for all.
- Medical and public health social workers provide psychosocial support to individuals, families and vulnerable populations, helping them cope with chronic, acute or terminal illnesses. They advise family caregivers and patients, helping them plan for their needs after a person comes home from the hospital.
- America’s population is aging. Social workers help older Americans get the health care and mental health care they need. They also work with older people and their families to improve their quality of life and ability to live independently as long as possible.
- Social workers are active in national, state and local politics, working to pass legislation that benefits some of our most vulnerable, including older Americans and children, and alleviate poverty and hunger. Social work champions in Congress include Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, and Rep. Barbara Lee of California.