I am back today with a topic more serious than the last one, but still connected, because social work is made of love. No social work without love: you need to love people, feel the urge to help them. But you also need to love your job, otherwise you will never handle it emotionally. This topic attracted me because it’s also linked to what I am doing here in Croatia within the association Udruga Amazonas. Social work for me is not only the job of listening to people and helping them: it’s also what we can all do to contribute to our society.
Why the world social work day
The world social work day has been created by The International Federation of Social Workers (I.F.S.W.) with the purpose to recognize internationally the accomplishments and contributions of the social workers. It takes place on the 15th of March. The topic of this year 2022 is: “Co-constructing a new eco-social world: leaving no one behind”. The federation and its registered members strive for social justice, human rights, and inclusive, sustainable social development through promoting social work. They also promote sustainable practice and engagement in international cooperation.
A topic that corresponds to our current’s feelings.
This topic has been chosen to highlight hope: after these years of pandemic, they want to point out the good sides of all we have been through. Maybe COVID-19 allowed us to realize that we need to take care more of our planet, but also of people around us. What they mean is that our world, as we saw through the climate crisis, needs to be more sustainable. But without forgetting the fact that no one can be left behind: it’s as a union, by being one, that we can fight all those problems. For this huge challenge, we need love, strength and patience.
This topic coincides with the theme of the people’s global summit that will take place from the 29th of June to the 2nd of July, where all of us are invited to exchange.
Social workers’ purpose
“Social work is a practice-based profession that promotes social change, development, cohesion and the empowerment of people and communities. Social work practice involves the understanding of human development, behavior and the social, economic and cultural institutions and interactions” you can find the whole definition here.
Social workers provide services to people in need whether it be children or adults. It can be therapists, psychologists, school counselors, family advocates, and so on. Even if their job is different, those people all have the same purpose. They advocates for social development, social justice and human rights. They fight and work to improve the lives of their clients. They assess their needs and challenges and educate them to give them the keys about what to do in a crisis.
Why become a social worker? Hanka’s point of view
If you don’t know Hanka, it’s very sad because that means you haven’t read her articles yet! You should go, right now (after this one of course). To introduce her, Hanka is my roommate, work partner, and a close friend now. Since she wants to become a psychologist, I decided to ask her some questions to have her point of view which can be useful because she can bring something else to this article.
Some people are made for their field, would I say. Hanka told me that she wants to be a psychologist because she is good at talking to people. They find it easy to open up to her and share when they have problems. She always wanted to help people, but not becoming a doctor, so she found mental health as her future. She wants to be there for people who maybe don’t have anyone to share their troubles with.
Can social workers change the lives of people?
Hanka believes that yes, social workers can change the lives of people. But she is not saying that everyone who is coming to social workers is seeing their life changing when they leave the room. But to her, if they help at least someone, then it’s already a victory. Hanka also told me that if this job wasn’t helpful, there wouldn’t be people coming to them and having the government financing this field. So, they are an important part of our society.
Why are they so important nowadays?
Hanka doesn’t know if there is really a difference between nowadays and in the past. Those mental health problems always existed, we talk just more about it now with social networks and technology. She said that it is and has always been important to help those people in difficult situations. They can have someone to talk to and get better and realize that there is a way out. She added something about children: some of them have mental problems or disorders, and instead of ignoring those problems, we should know how to work and communicate with them. They just need to be understood: and in this case, a social worker is the solution.
Does everybody should be/can be a social worker for their surroundings in their daily life?
To this complex question, Hanka answered that we should take on this role only if we are mentally okay. Because not everyone has the ability to do that. She explained that it’s not because we can’t have access to a psychologist that we shouldn’t talk about our problems. Hanka is putting a warning on this topic: if you ask help from your surroundings and they give you advice, you have to be aware that it is not necessarily the best advice. Also, you should not necessarily listen and apply it because it’s subjective so it can be dangerous. Mostly if you are in an unstable situation.
Hanka said that if we have those professionals it is for a good reason: they know the topics. It’s not their job to tell you what to do as someone from your surrounding could tell you. The good part of a therapist or psychologist for example is that it is someone from the outside. He/she will not give you advice, but ask you questions that will guide yourself to take the right decision and make you understand what you are going through. It’s more someone that will push you to direct yourself towards the right exit door of your problems.
Do you think the world social work day is helpful for the cause?
Surprisingly, Hanka didn’t know about this celebration date. I am therefore glad to have written this article. But she said that if it allows us to talk about those important topics such as mental health, while highlighting social workers that deserve to be encouraged, recognized and appreciated, then it’s very good!
My vision of social work
Nowadays, social work should be more highlighted. The COVID-19 pandemic and most especially the lockdown made us realize that mental health is an important topic that we don’t broach enough. Listening to our body and taking care of it is a thing, but listening to our emotions is something else that we don’t do enough. As Hanka said, mental health is a topic that is still too taboo nowadays in our society. It took me 20 years to understand the importance of listening to my needs.
Asking help to a psychologist, for example, shouldn’t be a shame as it is seen by some people. It should be normal. They help us achieve goals, distance ourselves from the situation we are going through. They make us question ourselves and our habits, which is a good thing. That’s how we grow up. We realize some things and can be ready for the next step or challenge in our life. We all have childhood traumas, and recovering from them will change our life and push us to become a healthier person. If you feel the need, go for it, you won’t regret. Korak po korak!
The world social work day enforces the idea that we are all connected and that we are all going through the same obstacles in our life. We all need love, attention from people, and to be taken care of. Our future depends on every person’s involvement in building a socially just future. This is all our duty to take care of people. Even of the ones we don’t know. So that our solidarity and our energy can become that stronger that it will chase the back cloud which is above our head and is just waiting to explode.
See you next month,