Social work and social workers often get passed over. We don’t talk about them enough, and maybe we don’t even know what is it they do exactly. Social workers are allied health professionals, and their job is to enhance social functioning and overall well-being. Basically, they are trained professionals with qualifications who help people in need. Social work has a pretty long history, but here’s why social work is important, especially today.
1) Support System & Foundation
There are many types of social workers who help out across various industries. They could work at schools, prisons, military and hospitals just to name a few. Regardless of where they work at and who they work with, social workers form the support system of people in need. Social workers work closely with vulnerable people, and form the foundation of which they can get back on their feet again.
2) Advocate Social Justice
Oftentimes, social workers are advocates for a particular underprivileged community. As such, the social workers do their best to speak up for the underprivileged, fighting for their basic rights, and more. With rights, the underprivileged have a better chance of becoming equipped to survive.
3) Navigate & Bridge
The underprivileged and vulnerable can feel lost and helpless, and this is where social workers come in. Besides being guides and navigating those in need to a better path, social workers also link them to other people/organisations who can help as well.
4) Provide Skills, Knowledge & Empowerment
Sometimes, the best help one can give is just by being there. However, one cannot always “be there”, and the next best thing is to provide those in need with what they need to live better. As aforementioned, social workers work across different industries, and oftentimes they work with various organisations as well. Depending on the people in need, social workers are able to provide them with the necessary skills, knowledge and empowerment to live and integrate into society the best they can.
5) Promote Humanity
The social work sector is a selfless, noble one. Not only do social workers help those in need, but perhaps more importantly, they are promoting humanity — the human touch. Some communities may feel hopeless and that nobody actually cares, but social workers help reintroduce humanity to them, inadvertently bonding with them and teaching them to build stronger human relationships. All of us depend on social contact and relationships to a certain extent, and people in need could greatly benefit from the human touch indeed.
6) Enhance Well-Being & Improve Lives
One of the most commonly known social work types is that they help meet basic human needs and rights. But besides basic human needs, there are several ways social workers help others as well. Social workers could be counsellors in the military, helping soldiers get through traumatic events. They could be caregivers in hospices, providing much needed care and company to the sick. Or maybe, they could be prison counsellors, working with inmates to integrate them into society once again. We don’t see or hear much about these kinds of social work, but you have to admit that it’s important for society as a whole, and not just for those who “need help”.
7) Address Underlying Issues
In other words, they go the extra mile and try to figure out the root cause of the problem. Once they do that, they try to solve that problem, because everyone knows solving the root cause is the better, more effective way of getting rid of a problem. All in all, social workers try to make society, and the world, a better place to live in by helping people in need, and also attempting to rectify underlying causes that result in various issues.
As we’re reeling from a pandemic, there’s no denying that people may find themselves in need more than ever. Whether it’s just looking for a listening ear, or having other more specific requirements, social workers do their best to address them. Without social workers, even more people would be left helpless and to fend on their own. Social workers can’t do it all despite their best intentions, so let’s also do what we can, in our own way. Tip the delivery person; support your local businesses; be a little kinder… let’s make this world a better place!