In 1984, the White House named March National Social Work Month.
“Social workers are vital to the success of the entire mental health care system,” says Joshua Tabaldo, senior program director, Hillsboro-Walnut. “They provide an important perspective and experience that differs from other clinicians and peers. They provide a systemic lens to the care that they provide our consumers and to the overall system as well.”
At LifeWorks NW, we have many Licensed Clinical Social Workers and Masters in Social Work playing a wide variety of roles.
“That’s the nature of social work,” says Martha Plante, program director Tigard Adolescent Day Treatment. “People go to grad school thinking they are going to be therapists in social work, but a lot of things fall under the social work umbrella.
“The clinical piece is where you are doing more of the direct counseling and it requires licensure. But you can do social work as an MSW, too. Social work really means getting systems to work for families and individuals and helping them access and coordinate the services that are out there, as well as direct counseling. Social workers do a lot of advocacy and resource gathering to make sure that the needs of the client are met…getting systems working together to fill in the gaps…finding all kinds of resources, food and shelter, etc,, as well as direct counseling.”
Martha, working in Adolescent Day Treatment, and Josh, in Adult Rehabilitation, Adult Outpatient, Child & Family Mental Health, have different perspectives, but both see the value of Social Workers across the system. “I think social work is the best choice as far as a career is concerned if you want to work with people because you get the opportunity to wear many different hats and do many different things for clients,” says Martha. “It’s our calling, so to speak, to be there for families and individuals and be available in many different ways. Social workers are kind of all things to all people, or try to be. That person that can help them live their lives and access services to improve their lives. It really is about the whole person.”