People are complicated. As a social worker, you are often working with individuals in immense emotional and often physical pain. One of the best aspects of being a social worker is when you help someone heal. Other times, a client can have difficulty moving out of their pain. It can be scary for a social worker (new or experienced) to have a client indicate they are going to irrevocably harm themselves. I know a lot of therapists who say they don’t take clients who are at high risk of suicide but anyone you work with may be at risk. It is essential, to be willing to be aware that suicide might be a risk.
Did you know May is Mental Health Month? May is designated to highlight the discussion of mental health and helping fight stigma. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) indicates that over 43 million adults live with a mental illness every year – that is approximately 1 in 5 adults in the United States. This means that you know many people who are struggling with mental health issues. If you are in a helping profession you are likely encountering many individuals whose mental health is affecting their day to day life.
What can you do to promote mental health awareness and your own mental health?
As a social worker, we care about people. We want them to live the best life they can. And…at least secretly – we are sure we know what the best choices are to get what we view as the best life.
It turns out though – that even though we are assisting people in finding their way – their choices and their desired outcomes aren’t up to us. One of the main tenets of social work is self – determination.
The National Association of Social Workers states self-determination is an ethical principle of professional practice.
“Social workers respect and promote the right of clients to self-determination and assist clients in their efforts to identify and clarify their goals. Social workers may limit clients’ right to self-determination when, in the social workers’ professional judgment, clients’ actions or potential actions pose a serious, foreseeable, and imminent risk to themselves or others.”
It is imperative that a social worker is aware of their own value system and beliefs so they aren’t subconsciously or subtly moving the client to the clinician’s goals. You want to act for your client’s best interest but who decides what that is?
After the fallout of the economy, many were forced to reevaluate how to get a job. If you’re a seasoned Social Worker or fresh from college, here are some tips to get a job in the social work field.