Social Work Month in March is a time to celebrate the great profession of social work.
The theme for Social Work Month 2021 is Social Workers Are Essential.
Social workers are essential to community well-being.
As practitioners, social workers are trained to help people address personal and systemic barriers to optimal living. They are employed to effect positive change with individuals, families, groups and entire communities.
During Social Work Month take time to learn more about the many positive contributions of the profession, and use the items in our toolkit to celebrate all the social workers you know.
The Social Work Month campaign will inform the public, policymakers, and legislators about the way the nation’s social workers each day meet people where they are and help them live to their fullest potential.
Social work is one of the fastest growing professions int the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). There are currently about 700,000 professional social workers in our nation, but that number is expected to rise to more than 800,000 by 2029, BLS said.
Social work has been around for more than a century and has made significant contributions to our nation. For example, social workers such as social reformer Jane Addams, former Labor Secretary Frances Perkins, and civil rights leaders Dorothy Height, Whitney Young and Ida B. Wells have helped Americans secure voting rights, equal rights, Social Security, unemployment insurance, and other programs.
You will also find social workers throughout society – protecting children from abuse and neglect, providing mental health and substance use disorder treatment, assisting active duty military, veterans and their families, in schools, helping corporations better serve their communities, and in community organizations as well as in local, state and government.
During the Coronavirus pandemic social workers have also been on the frontlines along with doctors, nurses, grocery store staff and other essential employees. For instance, social workers such as Rosanelly Garcia, a trauma social worker in the emergency room at Mount Sinai Hospital in Chicago, are helping people hospitalized because of the Coronavirus get the best quality care and the services they need to recover once they return to their families and communities.
Other social workers such as Carla Monteiro in Massachusetts are helping people cope with mental illness and substance use disorders during the pandemic, often doing this job remotely to keep everyone safer.
However, the social work profession faces challenges. There is shortage of social workers in schools where they are needed to help young people cope with complicated issues such as trauma, poverty, the opioid addiction crises and the need for more resources to help students learn during the pandemic.
And although social workers play a critical role in our nation’s health care and mental health system, they could be better compensated for the work they do, according to a 2019 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.
So, during Social Work Month NASW will provide these tools to help promote the profession:
- A Social Work Month online toolkit at www.socialworkmonth.org
- Advice from experts on how social workers and their allies can tell stories on how essential the
profession is in the media and on social media.
- An official proclamation that you can get local, state, or federal politicians to endorse.
- Social Work Month merchandise from official vendor Jim Coleman Ltd. This year’s merchandise
will include personal protective equipment or PPE.
- A video public service announcement that illustrates the essential work that social workers do
that can be shown in presentations or at events or shared on social media.
- A draft letter that can be shared with news media.