The superheroes in disguise.
With the continuously rising rate of people of all ages suffering from depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other mental health disorders, mental health social workers play an integral role in the war against drug abuse, alcohol abuse, violence and suicide caused by mental illnesses. Just as doctors and surgeons are at the forefront of saving lives threatened by physical illnesses and injuries, mental health social workers are at the forefront of saving and improving the lives of those with mental disorders.
Who are mental health social workers and what do they do?
Mental health social workers are trained professionals who work to prevent, intervene, assist and empower people suffering from mental health disorders. They offer counsel to people from all walks of life without bias and regardless of age, race, gender and religion.
The duties of a mental health social worker are to assist mental health patients in recovering from and coping with a variety of mental health disorders by:
- Performing mental and (sometimes) physical evaluations on mental health patients in order to establish what he/she may be suffering from.
- Assisting mental health patients in regaining and maintaining control over their lives and their disorder.
- Providing help and support to find and secure employment and housing if need be.
- Observing and monitoring patients and their interactions within a variety of circumstances and environmental factors.
- Assisting mental health patients in managing the social factors of their lives such as their families, friendships and relationships.
- Ensuring that mental health patients do not relapse and making sure that they continue to make substantial progress.
The mental health social workers’ mission
Mental health social workers take on a unique role when compared to the fields of physical health care. Instead of focusing exclusively on medication and rehabilitation they lead the way in constructing critical discourses which represent alternatives to the regular model of mental health. They strive to assist patients not only through medication but through emotional support by way of motivation, assurance and reassurance, education for a greater understanding of mental illness, and general guidance.
In order to fulfil their mission, they:
- Provide mental health assessments on all patients.
- Provide individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy and relationship therapy as deemed appropriate to the patient’s illness.
- Provide support to patients and the families of patients as they begin to adapt to their mental illness.
- Carry out advocation on behalf of their patients during illness.
- Ensure that any resources the patients may need are made available in order to improve their quality of life during illness.
Mental health social workers are often seen as a last resort for people who are suffering from a mental illness and are often too embarrassed or ashamed to embrace their illness and seek the appropriate type of professional help that they need. On a global scale, mental health social workers undoubtedly improve the well-being and lifestyles of many people, the societies that they live in and the economy as a whole.