Social work breaks barriers: March is Social Work Month

Published: March 03, 2023

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The theme “Social Work Breaks Barriers” resonates because social workers are on the frontlines helping our nation overcome a myriad of challenges, including economic inequality, racism, natural disasters, and mental health crises. The Auburn University Master of Social Work, or MSW, program can help you become part of the solution.

More than 700,000 social workers nationwide entered the profession because they have a strong desire to assist those in need and make our communities, our nation, and our world a better place for all. For generations, social workers have broken barriers to help people live better lives, and they continue to break barriers by empowering people in tough situations.

Alabama is currently experiencing a shortage of professional social workers. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimates that professional Social Workers comprise the largest group of mental health service providers (over 200,000 nationally), which is more than psychiatrists, psychologists and psychiatric nurses combined. There is just one mental health clinician for every 850 Alabama citizens, making us the worse ranked state in health workforce availability, the most severe shortage in the nation.

For more than a century, social workers have broken barriers that led to the creation of a minimum wage, a 40-hour work week, and the implementation of Social Security benefits. They’ve transformed millions of lives and continue to make a difference today. The National Association of Social Workers, or NASW, found that nearly half of all Social Work positions are employed in mental health (37%) or health settings (13%).

Chances are over the course of your lifetime, you, a family member or a friend have been helped by a social worker. According to a new survey from Ipsos, 80 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of social workers, and 81% of people who have interacted with a social worker say a member of the profession improved their situation or that of a family member.

Social Work professionals are everywhere — hospitals, mental health care facilities, child welfare agencies, schools, veteran centers and in local, state and federal government. If you are ready to turn your passion into action and embark on a rewarding career, consider applying for the MSW program at Auburn University. We prepare students for advanced Clinical Social Work practice with a focus on the areas of health and mental health with an emphasis on health disparities, prevention, and policy. Our students enjoy small classes, personal faculty interaction, high licensure pass rates, and find a variety of job opportunities across the country.

Read more about the MSW program.

Submitted by: Danilea Werner