As defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a social worker is a skilled professional that helps individuals, groups, and families cope with life’s challenges, through methods like counseling, psychotherapy, research, and even policymaking. By helping people get on the right track, social workers ensure that everyone in the community can adequately perform their social roles.
When the COVID-19 crisis hit, mental health decline, domestic abuse, financial instability, and a number of other difficulties plagued America’s communities. Although many of these issues have waned, their aftereffects can still linger, making recovery difficult. That’s why social workers have become more important than ever. As community helpers, social workers are well-equipped to help manage the trauma of the global crisis and restore the social and emotional health of the collective.
Why Does The World Need Social Workers Right Now?
The effects of the pandemic, such as social isolation, financial turbulence, and excessive exposure to death and illness, worsened the prevalence of depression and anxiety among adults in the United States. In states like West Virginia, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Tennessee, which all have limited access to mental health services, the mental health situation was much more severe. In West Virginia, for example, about 28.8% of the population lives with diagnosed depression.
Promoting mental health and overall wellbeing is one of the key responsibilities of social workers. Licensed clinical social workers’ counseling services can help individuals navigate difficult life challenges, such as unemployment and illness. Others can even offer psychotherapy for clients struggling with mental health issues.
Domestic Abuse Interventions
The stress created by the pandemic put many individuals, women especially, at risk of abuse from their spouses or partners. Lockdowns also made it difficult for many to leave abusive households. Though it was the pandemic that worsened the issue, domestic violence was already prevalent prior — researchers estimate that about 10 million Americans will experience domestic violence every year. Rates are highest among rural states, such as Oklahoma and Kentucky.
Social workers play a key role in the prevention and treatment of domestic violence. They can redirect survivors to helpful resources and shelters. Many also offer counseling and therapy specifically for domestic abuse cases.
Need For Relief
The recent crisis placed many families and individuals in precarious financial situations. Owners of small businesses struggled to stay afloat, while many employees found themselves laid off from their jobs. It was the responsibility of social workers to educate and refer communities to their available assistance options.
Those working in macro social work also help to lobby for policies that can help those struggling financially. Many also work with non-profit organizations to create programs that can help improve life for people in need.
Should I Become A Social Worker?
Social work can be a great career option for professionals that want to make a positive impact on the lives of families and individuals. Since the job covers a wide scope of duties, there’s a social work role out there for any type of personality. Those who want to help on a more personal level can try counseling, while those who want to effect change on a larger scale can focus on policymaking.
However, entering the field requires a significant investment in time and resources. Wheel outlines how social workers are required to complete a bachelor’s degree in social work. To become a licensed clinical social worker, professionals must also earn a master’s degree in social work. They also have to pass certain examinations, whose scope and fees can differ from state to state.
We at the Foundation for Family & Community Healing value purpose-driven work. As we mentioned in a previous article entitled Passion, Purpose, and Productivity, one way to feel satisfied with your life’s work is to choose a career that aligns with your purpose. Through social work, you will get the opportunity to improve the well-being and quality of life of individuals within your community. There’s no better purpose than that.