Four Ways to Support National Social Work Month

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What is National Social Work Month? Check out more on the history—and importance—of social work, as well as five ways you can get involved today.

What Is National Social Work Month?

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear “social worker”? Chances are, you think of the Department of Social Services (DSS) or Child Welfare Services. While both are important organizations, they represent only one portion of the wider community of social workers and what they can do. 

Social workers can be found all over the United States. For instance, they are county librarians, school counselors, hospital coordinators, and even government administrators. Social work is an essential part of organizations and nonprofits focused on serving and empowering others.

Here are just a few of the industries where you can find social workers:

  • Mental and behavioral health 
  • Food insecurity
  • Healthcare
  • Clinical social work
  • Homelessness services
  • Veterans’ affairs
  • LGBTQ+ outreach
  • Child welfare
  • School social work
  • Refugee resettlement
  • Workforce development

Every March, health and human service professionals around the states celebrate National Social Work Month. Above all, it serves as a chance to raise awareness for all that social workers do and honor the contributions they have made to our communities. Keep reading below to learn more about the history of National Social Work Month, the importance of advocacy, and five ways you can help show support.

The History of National Social Work Month

So what exactly is National Social Work Month? First recognized in 1984, National Social Work Month is a yearly opportunity for social workers around the country to rally together and push for innovation and growth within the profession.

There’s good reason for this level of advocacy. Social work is one of the fastest-growing industries in the nation. Despite the fact that it has officially existed for more than a century, social work still continues to expand both its breadth and depth of services. As of 2022, more than 720,000 social workers live and work in the United States.

The Time Is Right for Social Work

Every year, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) chooses a theme to focus its advocacy efforts on. Past themes have included mitigating domestic violence, fostering community-network building, and responding to the AIDS epidemic. This year’s theme is “The Time Is Right for Social Work.” 

It’s a fitting theme for 2022. As March passes by, so does the two-year milestone since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic spreading to the United States. The health crisis has left many in need of social services, with a significant amount of people seeking this help for the first time. Homeless shelters filled up, food insecurity grew, and cases of domestic violence rose. As these hurdles came up, social workers were—and still are—the ones who answered these calls for help. 

The Need for Continued Awareness

Social work is not without its challenges. As social-service organizations are often geared towards under-served communities, funding can be hard to come by. Government grants, local fundraising, and volunteer efforts are all essential to help social workers do what they do best: help those they serve. However, National Social Work Month offers the opportunity to build up these resources.

Awareness campaigns like National Social Work Month are not just designed to help social work organizations function. They also aim to spread information about local resources and put those who might need social services in touch with groups that can help. Experts agree that despite the large need for services from social work programs, a significant amount of people don’t know how to or where to access them. 

The best part about raising awareness for National Social Work Month? There are many ways you and your community can get involved. The more we work together to honor and support this month-long campaign, the more we can strengthen our communities.

Four Ways to Support National Social Work Month

Showing support doesn’t have to be hard, but it can have a lasting impact. Check out the list below for five ways you can show support this month.

  1. Volunteer at a local social-service organization.
    Social-service organizations are always looking for helping hands. Consider spending an afternoon at a food bank, homeless shelter, or after-school tutoring service.
  2. Raise awareness on social media.
    One way to engage in meaningful advocacy work is through social media. For example, share a post about National Social Workers Month (like this blog!) to your friends and followers.
  3. Get to know your community.
    Community care coordination is a critical part of successful social work. When communities are well connected, they can provide better outcomes and help share resources. Get to know the stakeholders and organizations in your local area.
  4. Advocate for those in need.
    Advocacy can come in all shapes and sizes. By familiarizing yourself with local laws and policies surrounding social services, you can better advocate for them. For instance, if you see areas that can be improved, a letter to your local representatives or local officials could go a long way!

All in all, National Social Work Month is a chance to recommit as individuals, social networks, and communities to fostering a brighter, safer, healthier tomorrow for everyone around us. As we continue to honor and support social workers around us, we can help make that future more of a reality.

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