March was National Social Workers month, and this year’s theme was “Weaving Threads of Resilience and Advocacy.” Across the United States, over 650,000 social workers reach out to people in need, and the profession continues to grow. The official website for the month, http://www.socialworkers.org/pressroom/swmonth/, includes 100 ways to promote social work. Just because March is over doesn’t mean these ideas can’t be employed!
Some highlights of the month are below.
More than 1,700 people voted for writers, newscasters, movie directors, and other media workers for their efforts to raise awareness of the importance of social work. The winners of the 2013 National Association of Social Workers Media Awards will be announced by the end of March.
In large part because its one-child policy has left China’s aging population with not enough children to care for their elderly parents, China is in great need of social workers to serve the needs of its older folks. One year ago there were only 200,000 social workers for a 1.3 billion population. Seven universities in the United States (which has over 650,000 social workers serving its 314 million population) are planning to partner their social work programs with Chinese universities to assist China with its goal of gaining 2 million social workers by 2020.
Even though the nationwide number of social works jobs is projected to grow by 25% from 2010 to 2020, it is important for social workers to keep a fresh perspective. Veteran social worker Michelle Reaves of New York speaks of the advice a supervisor once gave her. When her career was young, Michelle was advised to consider changing the way she did at least one thing every few years.
In 2008, a 53-year old social worker named Diruhi Mattian was stabbed to death by a client who was mentally ill. This has prompted the governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, to make it a law that any direct services programs associated with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services have plans and procedures in place to prevent workplace violence.
News Items – March 15, 2013 – 3/15/13
This list of links to articles covers many areas of social work. Articles mentioned include those dealing with hospice care, military social workers, education of children, funding for a grant for research that could help people with schizophrenia, and legislation relating to social work.
Social workers in demand – 3/16/13
Though social work is not a lucrative field, most people enter the field out of a deep desire to help ease the suffering of others. The nation’s 650,000 plus social workers help the elderly, children, families, victims of abuse, and people with addictions, low incomes, and mental illness, among other things. The field of social work continues to grow.
Passing Some Real Time with Bill Maher – 3/16/13
Jared Bernstein writes of his March 15 visit on the Bill Maher show. During the show he and other guests Rachel Maddow and Tom Davis talked about various social and economic problems in our country. A former New York City social worker, Bernstein points out that our nation’s policy makers can be divided into those who have had personal experiences with how families suffer due to market failure, and those whose lives have not been touched by it.
Grant Memorial Hospital in Petersburg, West Virginia employs three social workers at its 45-bed facility. Two full-time and one part-time staff members deal with all patients who might have a need for social services, including patients who are over 65, have had a stroke, who live alone, or who have received a terminal diagnosis, among others.
At Paris Community Hospital/Family Medical Center in Edgar County, Illinois, a program called Senior Care employs two social workers to assist elderly people in living healthy emotional lives. The hospital also provides other social work outreach, including a caregiver support group, bereavement support group, and a Cancer Friendship Group. Social workers provide counseling and education, and connect people to appropriate local resources
Build key connections for aging in place – 3/20/13
As people age various factors may contribute to their isolation, including family and friends dying or moving away and a tendency to leave the house less. Isolation poses major health risks to senior citizens and can even be fatal, so it is important for families to put plans in place to keep seniors well-connected to those around them. Financial planning, researching community resources, discussing possible scenarios, and staying in regular contact with family can help seniors age without isolation.
People don’t often think of social work jobs being related to the medical field, but as health care needs grow, so does the need for social workers in public health facilities and hospitals. Social workers in such facilities can make a great impact on people who might need their services the most, including those who are homeless or poor, those who struggle with addictions, and victims of domestic or child abuse.
In Memory: Wilda Levin – 3/20/13
On March 16, 2013, psychiatric social worker Wilda Levin of Amherst passed away. She was 88 years old, and had only been retired from private practice for about four years. Prior to working in private practice, Levin worked at the University of Buffalo as the head social worker for the student counseling center for over twenty years, among other social work positions she held.
In Memory: Jan Chapin – 3/25/13
Jan Chapin, a 65-year-old member of the National Association of Social Workers, recently died of melanoma. A resident of Baltimore, Chapin had worked for Baltimore City public schools, the Baltimore City Department of Parks and Recreation, Independent Dialysis Foundation, Sinai Hospital Home Care Hospice, and DaVita Inc.
For the first time, the school of social work at Spalding University in Louisville hosted a celebration for National Social Workers Month. Both students and professional social workers were recognized for their efforts to make a positive impact on the world.
As you can see, social workers are a crucial part of the fabric of society. They are all around us! A heartfelt thank you goes out to social workers everywhere.
About the Author
Christy Rakoczy has a JD from UCLA School of Law and an undergraduate degree in English Media and Communications from University of Rochester. Her career background includes teaching at the college level as well as working in the insurance and legal industries. She is currently a full-time writer who specializes in the legal, financial and healthcare sectors. Ms. Rakoczy writes online content as well as textbooks for adult learners.