Happy Social Work Month!
As you may or may not know, every year the month of March is celebrated by honoring all social workers nationally for their hard work, dedication, and commitment. According to the National Association of Social Workers, social workers are essential. ”Social workers are essential to the community to improve the well being of every person”. I am a social worker by trade and throughout my career, I have encountered misinformed or miseducated individuals about what a social worker does and oftentimes what a social worker is. Social work is a broad profession and most people who are misinformed or miseducated often associate social workers with “child protection” workers or people who “take children away from their homes.” As practitioners, social workers are trained to help people address personal and systemic barriers to optimal living. Social workers are there for the elderly, the grieving, the families who cannot visit their loved ones in long term care facilities due to COVID 19, the students who are experiencing food insecurity, the homeless population, the large scale government agencies, the school teacher who has kids who are not showing up for virtual schooling, the doctors to help provide discharge planning, the hospice team to help support loved ones grieving the loss of a loved one, the social services agencies who provide clothing to battered women and children, the police department when disputes and phone calls are being made due to allegations of child abuse and neglect, the mental health clinician providing therapeutic support, As you see, the list continues to grow and as the world “stops” to flatten the curve social needs only grow. As the outbreak continues to exacerbate social isolation, unemployment and underemployment, food insecurity, homelessness and housing insecurity, stress, mental illness, and familial changes related to illness and death, social workers are there. The need and demand for social workers continue to increase and with the social work profession being on the rise, it is incredibly important to support and have conversations about the hard work that social workers provide to the community. Social workers are often left out of these conversations and thankfully, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) creates a space for us to come and share and support each other every month of March. This month, it is important to thank a social worker for their hard work and commitment to individuals and families. So, you are probably thinking, how can I thank a social worker?
Maybe start with a simple: Thank you. Oftentimes, we are viewed as individuals who need to just get stuff done to solve certain problems. Usually after the problem or the “fire” is put out, we rarely hear a “thank you.” So, take some time to thank a social worker today. Whether through phone call, text message, social media, written letter, handmade card. Whatever you must do, to form those two words, please share it and thank a social worker that you know. Even send a personal message to those social workers who may no longer be in the field. We are all trying to adjust to this new normal but remember it definitely takes immense grit, determination, and bravery to risk your own health and wellbeing to service others.
Thank you to all the social workers out there providing incredible services to those who are in need. Your work does not go unnoticed and will forever be honored.
-Dejerica Tinsley, LCSW, Owner and Founder of BEcoming ME, LLC