March 19th is World Social Work Day!
What is social work?
Social workers confront some of the most challenging issues facing individuals, families, communities and our society writ large. They forge solutions that help people reach their full potential and make our communities better places to live. Licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs) make up a large portion of our mental health care delivery system and play a critical role in helping the under-served population access care.
There are more than 680,000 social workers making positive contributions to our system across the country.
Who founded social work?
Jane Addams (1860–1935) was a founder of the U.S. Settlement House movement, a movement where newly arrived immigrants, struggling to earn a living wage, were places in better housing in urban areas. Addams is considered one of the early influences on professional social work in the United States.
How can you become a social worker?
Today, social workers continue to lead the way towards social justice by developing private and charitable organizations to serve individuals and communities in need (like Good Neighbor!). Social work is one of the most diverse healthcare fields and is growing by the day.
You can become a social worker by getting receiving your undergraduate or masters degree in social work. There are two types of social workers, those that get their clinical license and become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and those that do not. Bachelor's level and Master's level social workers can still practice and work directly with clients without a license if they are eligible to register as a Qualified Mental Health Professional (QMHPs).
Typically, QMHPs deliver the vast majority of community based mental health services such as in-home counseling, mental health skill building and therapeutic day treatment. LCSWs can work in a variety of clinical settings, where a high-level of skill and professional knowledge are needed to both assess and diagnose mental health disorders.
Both of these types of practitioners play a crucial role in the makeup of Virgnia's mental health workforce, particularly in the Medicaid program. Almost 75% of all mental health services are delivered through the Medicaid program and social workers are uniquely positioned to serve this population because of their deep understanding of the socioeconomic challenges that face the clients they serve.
Thanks for reading!