What Is Social Work?

    Social work is a profession that helps people improve their well-being. It helps people develop skills and use their own resources and those of the community to solve problems.

    What Is a Social Worker?

    Social workers are mental health providers. They work with individuals, families, groups, and communities. They support people in need, including those dealing with:

    Why Would Someone Need One?

    A social worker can provide:

    • support or counseling for a new medical diagnosis or a hospitalization
    • help for parents and caregivers communicating with their child’s medical team
    • connections to resources such as transportation, language services, therapy services, and disease-specific support
    • financial counseling
    • crisis intervention
    • information on government programs such as WIC, SNAP, Medicaid, and Social Security
    • help communicating with schools or employers
    • support for someone who feels unsafe
    • help finding a medical equipment or home health agency
    • help with housing concerns and food insecurity
    • help during a mental health crisis
    • compassionate care during end of life
    • information about children’s and families’ health care rights and responsibilities

    What Is Their Training?

    Social workers have college and advanced degrees in the field of social work, which includes:

    • 4 years at a college or university to earn a bachelor’s degree
    • a master’s (MSW) or doctorate (DSW) degree, or a PhD in social work, depending on the position

    Good to Know

    The different types of social workers include:

    • Substance abuse social workers: They work in hospitals and rehabilitation facilities to help people who are struggling with addiction, substance abuse, or mental health problems.
    • Community social workers: They plan, coordinate, and organize efforts to help specific local populations and work with community-based nonprofit organizations.
    • Hospice and palliative care social workers: They help those in need during a family member’s serious illness or the time leading up to death.
    • Military and veterans social workers: They help soldiers work through their feelings and adjust to life and family outside of war zones.
    • Child, family, and school social workers: They help kids who have been abused and can help the parents of a child who is suffering from a mental illness.
    • Psychiatric social workers: They offer therapy, check the mental health of their patients, and work with the patient’s family. They can help people find support groups and understand what treatment is available.
    • Health care social workers: They provide help with emotional, physical, and financial hardships that can come with serious medical conditions.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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