March is National Social Work month, which is a time to celebrate the great profession of social work as they are essential to a community’s well-being.
As practitioners, social workers are trained to help people address personal and systemic barriers to optimal living. They are employed to effect positive change with individuals, families, groups, and entire communities. As a profession, social workers frequently use their collective power to pass laws and establish policies that give more people access to community services and benefits, improving the quality of life for everyone.
During the COVID-19 public health emergency, social workers gained national visibility as a crisis-ready workforce trained to help people find resources. Hospital social workers scrambled to help patients suffering from coronavirus infections get the best possible care, stay in contact with their families, and access necessary services for recovery after being released from the hospital. When patients died, social workers were there to help families struggling with their loss. Social workers helped isolated older adults create life-enhancing social connections; ensured homebound schoolchildren got meals and other resources needed to learn; and found emergency shelter for people experiencing homelessness. Many quickly pivoted to offering virtual therapy to accommodate more clients seeking mental health support. Social workers also pressed local, state and the federal governments to help already struggling families survive during the pandemic’s economic downturn.
There are more than 700,000 professional social workers employed in the United States, and more than three million worldwide. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics continues to identify social work as one of the fastest growing professions in the United States.
You will also find social workers throughout society – protecting children from abuse and neglect, providing mental health and substance use disorder treatment, assisting active-duty military, veterans, and their families, in schools, helping corporations better serve their communities, and in community organizations as well as in local, state and government.
During Social Work month take time to learn more about the many positive contributions of the profession.
Visit the National Association of Social Workers website for ideas to share and celebrate National Social Work month!