By Sam Engel
Social work in the military is an essential yet under-appreciated branch in the social work world, and not very many people (including myself) know its vast scope of practice. Here’s 4 awesome things that I learned about military social work!!
- Military social work isn’t just limited to working with soldiers. In fact, military social work encompasses working with not just soldiers, but also the families and children of soldiers, veterans, and civilians in the military (Lecture, 3/8/16)! This means that military social workers work with a wide range of demographics, from people of any race to people of any socio-economic status (Lecture, 3/8/16).
- The Department of Veteran Affairs is the largest employer of social workers in the United States (Lecture 3/8/16). Around 11,000 social workers work for the VA. That’s a lot of people!
- The vast majority of VA social work is about helping vets deal with their Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (Interview with Connie Studgeon, 3/10/16). This can prove to be extremely difficult. Vets often have to adjust to living with their PTSD, and it is often triggered by a wide variety of things, including smells, sounds, and even foods (Studgeon, 3/10/16).
- Military social work can be extremely rewarding, according to Connie Studgeon. In an in-class interview, Mrs. Studgeon said that even though it can be very frustrating at times, she loves working with veterans, and wouldn’t want to work in any other social work branch (Studgeon, 3/10/16). After all, she’s been doing it for over twenty years!!
That’s four new things that I learned about military social work. The field encompasses so much more than I originally anticipated, and I certainly enjoyed studying about it!! Thanks for reading, but as Ferris puts it best: