6 Ways in which Social Workers assist those in need of Mental Health Services

1.Providing assistance for children


Although half of all mental health disorders arise by a person reaches adolescence, there are not as many mental health services for children as compared to adults. A social worker may therefore may advocate on a macro level for more mental health services for children. Additionally, certain children may be more prone to a mental disorder genetically, and may be put at higher risk if they are living in an abusive environment. Social workers may screen children at a young age who are prone to disorders so they can be treated appropriately. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008)

2.Helping treat clients who have a comorbid diagnosis

Clients who suffer from multiple illnesses may run into certain complications, as it may be difficult to efficiently be treated for both illnesses. For example, a person may be suffering from both a mental disorder, as well as alcoholism, and may not have the proper resources to treat both, or be able to afford treatment for both. A social worker therefor may help the client to find the most effective techniques and programs for their disorders. (Class lecture, 4/21/2016)

3.Treating the homeless

A large percentage of homeless people in America have a mental illness; around 25%. Mental illness is even more prevalent specifically in homeless family populations. Social workers may therefore first help those who are mentally ill and homeless find shelter. They may then provide services to those with a mental illness in a shelter setting. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008)

4.Societal views of mental illness of women

Much research on mental illness is done through the use of male test subjects, although women are at a higher risk for depression. Societal factors may contribute to the perception of women as being more frequently mentally ill. A social worker has an important role in trying to educate healthcare professionals on the importance of not stereotyping and over diagnosing women as mentally ill. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008)

5.Interacting with clients of different ethnicities

In recent years, focus on researching mental illness in minorities has increased. African Americans may affected in a different way by mental illness due to societal differences experienced. Additionally, hispanics are unlikely to have proper health insurance to be treated for mental illness. Social work with different ethnicities involves becoming sensitive to the approaches needed to treat people of different ethnicities suffering from a mental illness. Cultural differences may exist between ethnicities that affect the way in which the client wants to be treated.(DiNitto & McNeece, 2008)

6.Veterans affected by mental disorders


Social work with veterans may involve dealing with the emotional pain experienced. Post traumatic stress disorder is a prevalent mental illness amongst veterans, one which social workers help veterans to overcome. Social workers may also help veterans suffering from alcoholism, as alcohol is often used as a form of self-medication. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008)

by David Montes


DiNitto, D. M., & McNeece, C. A. (2008). Social Work: Issues and opportunities in a challenging profession. Lyceum Books, (3rd Edition).

Nunez, Mario. Class Lecture, 4/21/2016.

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