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Addressing Mental Health Challenges: Insights from a Social Worker’s Perspective

Apr 22, 2023 | 0 comments

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Apr 22, 2023 | Essays | 0 comments

Social workers play a major role in providing equity among societies today. They help in building the health of society by ensuring coordination and respect for human life. They advocate for the rights of the disadvantaged, neglected, and isolated populations. They also play a major role in ensuring the good standards of the health of society members. There has been an emphasis on concerns about mental health in recent years. Social workers have been identified as the leading practitioners in addressing the concern. Research has discovered that various behaviors are clear indicators of mental conditions that call for medical attention. Ranging from depression, isolation, to the extremes of suicide, mental concerns are a robust threat to humanity unless addressed adequately. This paper seeks to discuss the findings from an interview with a social worker who works at Royal Colombia Hospital as a Medicine Social worker on unit 6N, regarding the major issues faced in the sector from both the patients and the Social Workers’ perspective.

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Victims of mental health face similar challenges across the globe. (Consider the power of language here, the word victim has certain implications) (Mental health is a continuum that we all fluctuate on) They are subject to stigmatization. These patients struggle with the adverse manifestation of the psychological impacts of their mental health conditions at the same time battling against the society they live in. Most societies tend to be stereotypical on people with mental illnesses. They view these patients (clients, service users, maybe more strength-based terms) as incapable of leading a sustainable lifestyle hence deter them from their right to equal treatment. Some communities minimize contact with these populations, leaving them vulnerable to challenges they wouldn’t have otherwise been exposed to. A stigmatized patient, living within a population that barely has any regard for their existence is more unlikely to lead a satisfying life. The effects of stigmatization are diverse and extend to discrimination, isolation, and rejection.

The modern world has put much emphasis on Social Workers’ competitiveness as the major principle of economic development. (reference?)This way, firms seek to maximize the utility resource of each laborer subject to a minimum wage. Most managers assess the mental wellbeing of their employees to verify their capability in the industry (Stansfeld et al. 2005). People with mental health concerns have problems with acquiring employment in modern societies. Employers prefer not to employ them because of the risks associated with mental instability, a threat to the general economy. In addition to stigmatization and discriminatory trends, the victims of mental disorders remain threatened in the modern economy. They rely on social workers who fight for their rights, to ensure equity and recognition in every life aspects.

Third world nations have identified the prevalence of mental health concerns and their impact on the social wellbeing of humanity (Coyle et al. 2005). However, the interview with a social worker revealed that social workers who address concerns of mental health lack enough support at the societal level. One of the greatest challenges they face is a lack of social support from the governments. Governments are paying more attention to the bio-medical view of health with less emphasis on the psycho-social aspects of human existence. (how might mental health SW navigate these differences?)

There are no minimum standards set to guide the social workers; these social workers have no exact information regarding the limits of their activities. (?? What role do our code of ethics and agency policies play?)They are tasked with the role of taking care of people with mental health problems but lack a set of minimum standards. Mental health has been undermined and few opportunities are available in the economy to address this concern. (references to support this statement) Despite the prevalence of mental challenges amongst populations, the mental health sector is not receiving enough effort to sustain it within our societies.

The most common challenge experienced by social workers is the lack of community collaboration. To deal with mental health problems, the patients are not only those directly affected by the problem but also the people around them. For instance, society is responsible for the adversity of mental health problems. While society is determined to neglect, isolate, and stereotype individuals who display signs of mental instability, the patients become detached from them. Stress kicks in and the problem manifests itself faster than initially. For example, HIV&AIDs patients begin to experience mental problems upon discovery of the health disaster. (references to support?) When the society becomes aware of their status, they respond by keeping their distance and creating social boundaries that they did not have before (Earnshaw et al 2012). The fight taken by social workers to help these victims is a war against the society itself and only a few understand the gravity of its implications.

My interviewee revealed some of the common clients presenting concerns across the departments they worked for; Cancer, family problems, foster care issues, abortion, guilt, HIV&AIDs, isolation, and rejection. The most prevalent concerns by the clients were health-based and pointed to desperation for new socialization, hope for salvation, and desire for redemption. However, most of these needs are not easily achievable if they only relied on the people around them. Life is the best gift that we have. When people realize that they have lost it already, and they live on borrowed time, they undergo a temporal period of suspension from rational reason and turn to panic. Social workers are therefore tasked with the role of bringing mental peace back to these people.

Social workers have demonstrated admirable support for people with mental health concerns over the past years to date. They fight for the civil rights of all citizens and address gaps where they are not observed. They also emphasize on humane treatment of those patients. Social workers also play the role of intervening cases to do with child abuse and rejection. (Connecting to mental health?) Summarily, social workers in the mental health department restore the lives of their clients by making them feel accepted and equal to other populations. As a preventive measure, they encourage school-based interventions for both parents and children to understand mental problems. They also increase awareness of the importance of mental health promotion as well as promoting a healthy lifestyle including nutrition and exercise trends that may influence mental health. (Good point, prevention is integral to holistic MH care)

As an emerging and aspiring social worker, I understand the role of mental health and its inhibitors as well as the mitigation strategies. Technological advance is to the advantage of my career. With bigger and safer information sources and storage technologies, social workers can serve a huge population since access to the relevant information has been made more convenient by technology. (While this may be true, privacy laws have been slow to catch up with the rate of technology) Also, the increasing awareness of understanding the implications of mental health is a loud call for social workers. However, social stereotyping of people with mental problems is alarming rates. Societies tend to disown people with mental health problems, thus worsening the situation. To curb this problem in my society, I seek to increase public education on understanding that mental problems are normal and fixable, to restore the hope for the salvation of mental health patients.

It was unclear what info came from your interview and what was your own views/statements, referencing would clarify this. I would encourage you to consider the use of language as it is a powerful tool and some words such as victim, patient, etc serve to reinforce stigma and stereotypes. Reviewing a strengths-based approach and language may be helpful. Supporting statements with relevant research and/or theories would strengthen your paper. 18/25


Coyle, D., Edwards, D., Hannigan, B., Fothergill, A., &Burnard, P. (2005).A systematic review of stress among mental health social workers.International Social Work, 48(2), 201-211.

Earnshaw, V. A., Smith, L. R., Chaudoir, S. R., Lee, I. C., &Copenhaver, M. M. (2012). Stereotypes about people living with HIV: implications for perceptions of HIV risk and testing frequency among at-risk populations. AIDS education and Prevention, 24(6), 574 581.

Stansfeld, S. A., Kerry, S., Chandola, T., Russell, J., Berney, L., Hounsome, N., …&Bhui, K. (2015). A pilot study of a cluster-randomized trial of a guided e-learning health promotion intervention for managers based on management standards for the improvement of employee well-being and reduction of sickness absence: GEM Study. BMJ Open, 5(10), e007981.

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