Note: March is designated Social Work Month by the National Association of Social Workers. This year’s theme, The Time is Right for Social Work, was selected to reflect the life-affirming services that social workers provide, particularly as our nation continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, systemic racism, economic inequality, global warming, and other crises.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics cites social work as a one of the fastest growing professions in the nation, and there are more clinically trained social workers providing behavioral health services than any other professional discipline.
Spectrum Health has many team members who are members of this profession: several are sharing their stories on our social media platforms this month. The below was written by Sharon Gerbrecht, ACT Family Specialist.
Why I became a social worker has everything to do with watching those in our communities suffer consequences they did not own. When we are young children, we learn if we touch something hot it burns and hurts. A natural consequence. People born into poverty, mental illness, racial divide or any number of other social constructs such as a man and women should only be married. These are not natural consequences.
I felt it was my calling to be a partner and warrior for those who are silent yet suffering right in front of us. Social work to me is like being a silent warrior in the lives of those who need someone to stand next to them. NOT fix them (we just don’t have that power) but to let a person (s) know there is someone there. Who believes you, understands the odds are not fair and may never be fair.
I thought being a social worker was finding those who fall into the cracks and go down there and get them out. I learned Social Work must fight to seal those cracks and give people the opportunity to lessen those unnatural consequence they are so unfairly burdened with. When I think of the unnatural consequences I see our ACT clients face day to day, I know we need as many Social Workers as we can get.
The picture is a reminder that with all I see and fight for, I still am blessed to be able to spend time using selfcare to fight another day.
ACT Family Specialist