When things are not going so well in your life it is typically a social worker who can step in and bring order to the chaos. It’s just what they do!
You will find them in every community, waiting and willing to help. And having such amazing people makes it easy to see why we celebrate the good works and services they provide.
National Social Work Month, observed throughout March, uplifts the social workers of the country and this community, and it celebrates their constant contributions to our society. These professionals use psychology and sociology to solve social issues and improve individual lives.
This year, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) has designated “Social Work Breaks Barriers” as the theme for Social Work Month. In the rationale for this theme, it is expanded to “Social Work Breaks Barriers That Prevent People and Communities from Thriving.”
Social work is different from most other professions by its person-in-environment focus and its strong commitment to social and economic justice. Social workers provide assistance to people in every stage of life – from cradle to grave. If anyone deserves a month of celebration, a social worker certainly does.
A social worker uses psychology and social theories to unpack problems that people face and help them improve their lives and society as a whole. Many specialize in different areas, focusing on helping children, people with addictions, people living with life-threatening diseases, families in at-risk areas and so much more.
Symika Taylor is the “resident expert” for adults dealing with substance abuse. She has been a licensed clinical social worker at Community Health Northwest Florida for five years.
An Air Force retiree from Texas, Symika says social work is in her DNA.
“People have always come to me for help since I was young,” Symika says. “I love what Community Health means and the services we provide. If I can save one person, that’s why I keep showing up every day.”
Social workers are professionals who aim to enhance overall well-being and help meet the basic and complex needs of communities and people. They work with different populations and types of people, particularly focusing on those who are vulnerable, oppressed and living in poverty.
Community Health Behavioral Health and Wellness Services offers case management, social services and therapy for adults and children. The department also includes community movement classes, access to food and community resources, social workers and navigators to guide patients through overcoming the impact of community trauma.
In 2022, the number of therapists, social workers and support staff at Community Health Northwest Florida increased to 27 to meet the growing mental health crisis.
Director Andrea Nutt believes National Social Work Month is important to not only raise awareness but also to reduce the stigma surrounding social work, therapy and people seeking counseling.
“It is important to talk about the goal of social work, which is to connect and uplift, not to take apart and destroy,” Nutt says. “It’s Ok to ask for help, to work as a team, because it truly takes a village and we want to be a part of the village.”
By recognizing National Social Work Month, Community Health Northwest Florida intends to bring attention to the role that social workers play in alleviating personal and social issues. Social workers help people in all situations through education and training.
“People don’t come to therapy because everything is great or because they are well; people come to social services and counseling because they are facing challenges and struggles,” Nutt says. “That’s why I am so grateful to have a team of people within and outside the walls of Community Health who support the health and wellness of our community.”
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