4 Areas Where Social Workers Are Most Needed
Each one of us goes through a rough patch of life once in a while. It can either be deteriorating health conditions, natural disasters, impoverishment, loss of loved ones, misfortunes, or other catastrophic situations. Not to forget how the world we live in is thick with injustice and prejudice. Therefore, every so often, we have to encounter and tackle intricate issues and complex challenges head-on. Thankfully, none of us have to suffer these circumstances alone. With the assistance of professional social workers, people can stand back on their feet, gain courage, and keep themselves on the right track.
Many people are still unclear and do not have an accurate understanding of the duties of social workers. From a broader perspective, these professionals help cope with physical, emotional, and environmental challenges. Social workers tap into vulnerable communities, aid them, and provide support, assistance, and guidance. Not only this, but they also work with the individuals in dire need, such as victims of substance abuse and mental health.
From listening intently to people’s problems and providing fruitful solutions to creating policies that obliterate the prevailing injustice, social workers cover almost every aspect of life. As a result, these professionals are generally the jack of all trades. They might play the role of a patient advocate one day, and the very next day, they might have to act as a therapist for the very same person.
Social workers usually do not remain on the spearhead; due to this, the role of these professionals often gets overlooked. Given the services social workers provide and their work for communities, this field doesn’t receive the recognition it downright deserves.
However, the following list highlights the areas which require social workers the most:
1. Military Bases
Often neglected, the military serves as the main area where the need for military social work keeps on increasing rapidly. No one can deny that job stress and work commonly causes a toll on soldiers’ and service members’ mental and emotional health. Some veterans even return home with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), horrible nightmares, disturbing ordeals, and some guilty actions. Military social workers address the mental and physical concerns of soldiers and provide assistance to cope with life. They offer help to soldiers stationed in new locations or retired service members to deal with new job responsibilities and manage post-job stress. Besides, social workers also lend a helping hand to veteran’s families to adjust to the new routines.
Although every type of military social worker can provide services in this area; however, there are principally three types:
- Civilian military social workers: These professionals work in army support centers, healthcare facilities, schools and serve the civilian population.
- Active duty military social workers: As the name implies, these professionals work on military bases to provide guidance, support, and encouragement to those who are active on duties.
- Veteran social workers: They primarily devote their time to the retired service members, advocate for military benefits, sort out financial issues, and ensure medical assistance.
Many children suffer from emotional, social, and behavioral challenges, which create impediments and negatively hamper their physical and mental health. As a result, these children might not be able to perform efficiently at school. Thus, this demonstrates the increasing demand for social workers in this particular area. School social workers are primarily responsible for improving student’s academic performance and overall well-being. These social workers might perform their job duties in elementary, middle, or high schools. They help students academically and also provide assistance to grow socially. The typical job responsibilities include:
- Collaborating with outside agencies and support systems to help students with their personal lives
- Working together with teachers, parents, and administrators to formulate treatment and intervention plans
- Monitoring students’ performance and mental health and offering them counseling
- Assisting students suffering from any disability, abuse, or any other resource such as shelter and food
3. Clinics and Hospitals
Often, many people feel overwhelmed with the discovery of their illness or injury. In addition, they are unsure how to handle their emotions, possible treatment solutions at medical centers, or how much financial budget they need. Therefore, these factors give all the good reasons for the growing demand for healthcare social workers in clinics and hospitals. These social workers have sufficient knowledge and training to help patients from different walks of life. In addition, they assist the patients and their families in navigating the complex healthcare system and coping with their emotions. The job duties of these social workers may differ as per their healthcare settings, such as hospitals, residential centers, nursing homes. However, some everyday responsibilities are:
- Gathering and keeping patient’s medical records
- Assessing patient’s emotional and mental health and offering counsel
- Working together with other healthcare professionals to monitor patient’s physical and psychological condition and providing the best treatment plan
- Advocating for patient’s rights to solve any crisis
4. Courts and Violence Support Centers
Social workers in this area treat inmates and deal with people suffering from mental health issues. They also work with the families of those incarcerated for quite a long time to deal with emotional stress. Unfortunately, when the wave of the Covid-19 pandemic hit the US, the government categorized the professionals as essential and non-essential. That implied only those whose work is critical can continue to perform their duties during this outbreak. Regrettably, social workers were in the latter category. And we all are well aware that the root causes for criminalities in society are usually emotional, financial, psychiatric, and emotional needs. Still, individuals and communities remain contingent on the service of social workers to persist and survive.
On any given day, the job responsibilities of criminal justice social workers are the following:
- Figuring out substitute incarceration options for criminals accused of low-level crimes
- Working collaboratively with other concerned staff to bring a change in criminal behaviors
- Providing support to the previously imprisoned individuals to settle back well in society
- Counseling individuals on different issues, such as mental health and drug abuse
The guidance and support provided to any child, grown-up, or family, in turn, helps to reshape society as a whole. Not only this, but it also lays a strong foundation for the upcoming generations. Those individuals who aspire to be a part of this immensely gratifying career can choose from myriad options. There is no meagerness of rewarding and fulfilling career choices in this field.
However, irrespective of which area an individual chooses to provide services, social work requires a blend of different characteristics and personality traits to jumpstart a career. The unique mix may include kind and tender behavior, high emotional intelligence, and intense passion. Sure, this field isn’t for every other person; however, it is ideally appropriate for the ones with the perfect proportion of care, determination, and resoluteness. The more people become acquainted with the dynamic nature of the social work industry, the more they can serve the community.