The above quote was on a white board we have in our office area. The quotes change everyday, due to a diligent coworker, but not all of them catch my attention the way this one did.
This quote speaks to why I chose Social Work as a profession. I simply want to do good.
It is idealistic. I think most folks who choose this profession are idealistic. Perhaps starry eyed about changing the world.
I seek to leave a better world than I was given. That actually was a principle I was taught at church camp. I never forgot it.
Society has many ills; Homelessness, Addiction, Suicide, Disease, Alcoholism, Poverty, and Loneliness.
Each one devastating in its own right but usually found co-occurring amongst individuals suffering even one of these afflictions.
I have my degree in the Human Services. I have been working with a mental health facility for about four months and I’m in the processing of pursuing an MSW (Masters of Social Work).
You can consider me a novice. I have just gotten my feet wet. I am only beginning what I hope to be a life long career of service to others.
However, I have encountered every above mentioned issue and then some. My first month on the job I had two separate client’s attempt suicide. In month three I found another client emergency housing in about an hour. Currently I am assisting a client without health insurance, and no way to afford health insurance, find treatment for Hepatitis B.
One of the observations I have had is that some of these issues are cyclical:
For instance, a person has anxiety. They are unable to leave their home due to the extreme anxiety. They cannot have a job and struggle to come to their therapy appointments. They cannot work due to the extreme anxiety. Since they cannot work they cannot afford their medications. Since they are unmedicated they have no control over their social anxiety. Therefore they cannot go outside much less pursue a job opportunity.
There are possible solutions. Ideally a strong support system should be put in place to assist the person until he/she can become medicated and taken to therapy to work his/her issues.
Not everyone is so lucky. Not everyone has a support system. Sometimes a person only has himself.
I see more of this than I care for. I see people so starved for attention. I know that I am possibly their only regular contact with another person. Its disheartening.
A person can become so wearied and worn that they become a shell. They are no longer who they once were. I want to give that person the tools they need to rebuild their life.
Everyone in this field has a particular population they prefer to work with. Some folks like to work with children, adults, elderly adults, people who suffer from various disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, veterans, and so on.
I prefer veterans and specifically veterans that suffer from addictions. This stems for my love of country and respect for the Armed Service. These folks give so much and come back with invisible wounds. I want to spend my life serving these amazing folks.
Yes, I am idealist. Yes, I believe I can make a difference. Yet, I know I cannot do it alone. It is a collective effort we all must accept responsibility for.
Some days are tough. Heck, some weeks are tough. But it really is worth it because of the one person you have helped. Often we hear that and question a person’s sincerity by that statement. I’ve felt it though. The bad days can’t compare to the good days. The days I have found housing for folks. The days people have gained insurance and now can seek treatment for their medical problem.
Those are the reasons why I do what I do.
This in itself is humbling.