Social Work is Essential
March is Social Work Month and here at Springwell we are pleased to recognize and thank all the social workers who support our community daily. The 2021 theme, social work is essential, has been highlighted often as we have faced the challenges of the COVID19 pandemic. “It seems that social work has never been more important than during COVID. The pandemic has impacted the ability of so many people to meet their basic needs without some sort of assistance, whether that assistance is through family, grocery delivery services, or agencies like Springwell. The impact of the pandemic on mental health is also immeasurable, and social workers play a huge role in providing mental health support, as well as working with programs to provide direct services that alleviate some of the stresses related to the pandemic,” notes Liz Stern, Springwell Case Management Program Manager.
“Many people previously struggling with anxiety, depression or any other mental health challenges may have lost their access to coping mechanisms or support systems. And for those who may not have struggled with any of that in the past, many have since developed new mental health challenges because of this new normal, that they are unsure how to deal with. Having social workers in the role of mental health counselors, case managers, and general supports, is important to help guide and assist people through these unprecedented new circumstances,” shares Amber Russell, Home Care Supervisor.
“We have been presented with huge challenges to continue providing our care recipients with the services and supports that they need while maintaining social distancing and observing stay at home recommendations. As social workers, we are problem solvers and found ways to safely keep our services operating. We never lost sight of the fact that the very requirements of social distancing that keep us safe can result in isolation and loneliness that are also serious threats to overall health. Social workers address problems with a holistic approach that values all the multiple dimensions of our clients’ lives,” shares Jo White, Director of Health Partnerships for Springwell.
Case Managers regularly check in with members of our community receiving home delivered meals to make sure they have sufficient food during this time of social distancing. They have ensured that meal recipients have shelf stable or frozen meals as a backup in case there is an unforeseen service interruption. Care managers make video calls to clients to provide emotional support and make plans for services. Other things they have helped with include setting up Zoom accounts, facilitating telehealth calls with doctors, arranging for delivery of medications, assisting with making vaccine appointments and remotely advocating with elder law attorneys, trust officers, and insurance providers.
Jen Darby, Associate Director of Community Services, states that social work has truly been a team effort this year and one of the most challenging years of her career. “The work we do can be challenging when done remotely. I have worked with Program Managers to take extra care in being thorough in communications and expectations as we don’t have the luxury of popping into each other’s offices like we did in the past for ad hoc advice. This past year I have seen my management role as giving those who do the direct line work the empowerment that they need to keep the focus on the care recipients and help the staff manage their own feelings about the pandemic.”
Social work is essential. Springwell is grateful for our dedicated staff of social work professionals.