Recognizing the Contributions of Social Workers

Director of Social Work at Silver Hill explains how the expert advice of a social worker can help get through difficult life challenges.

March is Social Workers Month. Knowing that is a psychiatric hospital, you might be surprised that we are doing a post about this. But the fact of the matter is, social workers play an important role in the delivery of services to our patients. Like many mental health institutions around the country, we could not provide the quality of care we do without them.

Social work is a giving profession

According to the National Association of Social Workers, “Social workers assist people by helping them cope with issues in their everyday lives, deal with their relationships, and solve personal and family problems." A social worker is someone who wants to improve the lives of others.

The first formal instruction in the social work field began at Columbia University in 1898. By 2008, there were more than 642,000 social workers in the U.S. Social workers can function as specialists, consultants, private practitioners, educators, community leaders, policy makers, researchers and more. They are employed in workplaces ranging from private and public agencies, hospices and hospitals, schools and clinics — to businesses and corporations, military units, elected offices, think tanks and foundations.

Many work in family services at the state and local level. Others conduct research or are involved in planning and strategy. The need for social workers is expected to outpace other professions through 2018.

Social work is an integrative field. It seeks to improve social functioning and social conditions for people in emotional, psychological, economic, and/or physical need.

Social workers are invaluable

At Silver Hill, we value the work of our 30 social workers throughout the hospital. They tie all aspects of patient care together. Here is just a sample of the work they do:

  • Supporting patients and their families through the admission process.
  • Ensuring the smoothest transition possible for a patient to move from acute care where they are stabilized, to residential living programs for intensive, behavior changing treatment.
  • Providing a safe and therapeutic milieu and living environment as Residential Counselors.
  • Working with families to understand and assist in patient recovery.
  • Advocating on behalf of patients with insurance companies for continued length of stay in our Utilization Review Department.
  • Ensuring Quality of Care throughout the hospital.
  • Managing Volunteer Services.
  • Supporting our patients, their families, and outside referral sources through our Recovery Support and Follow-up Services.
  • Developing a successful discharge plan by identifying other programs, psychiatrists, and social workers to continue working with once the patient leaves Silver Hill – no matter where they live. 

There will be times in all of our lives when we face difficult or challenging situations and could benefit from expert advice. Maybe you have elderly parents or are going through a healthcare crisis or divorce. Perhaps you are unemployed, in the middle of a domestic conflict or arranging child custody. You may be struggling with a substance abuse problem.

Social workers know and understand what it takes to navigate major life challenges, find hope and new options for achieving your full potential. What drives us? Working to help people build new paths to successful living every day, and installing hope into the lives of others. 

Be sure to find the right social worker for you

  • Talk to trusted friends, family, or clergy about professionals they may know
  • Ask another health care provider, such as a family doctor, for a recommendation
  • Ask your health insurance company for a mental health provider list
  • Use a referral service from a national professional organization for therapists
  • Contact a local or national mental health organization or national medical society

Social workers do what they do because they fundamentally believe that everyone has the opportunity to have a life worth living, one of value to them, regardless of their current situation. 

On behalf of all of us at Silver Hill, I’d like to thank all social workers for the job you do. You are instrumental to improving the lives of many.

-- Janet Isdaner
   Licensed Clinical Social Worker
   Director of Social Work & Transitional Living Programs
   Silver Hill Hospital


We look forward to your comments on this and all Silver Hill Hospital posts. 

Silver Hill Hospital’s blog is intended only to provide information; it is not intended to provide diagnosis or treatment. If this is an emergency, please call 911.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Glen K Dunbar March 22, 2012 at 06:04 PM
I agreee. Social Workers can be a great help. Except if they violate confidentiality or drop you w/o notice
Glenn Wolff, LCSW March 26, 2012 at 02:05 AM
Glen: Was that your experience?
Ade March 26, 2012 at 02:24 AM
Oh, Mr. Wolff, you'd best not open that can of worms.
Go Rams April 19, 2012 at 09:14 PM
Hi Glenn, I would agree with the comment by Glen Dunbar; I have a brother who lives in the area with a serious mental illness.. he was diagnosed at age 18 and is now 53, he lives in a local mental health care facility. It is really upsetting to him when he participates in a group therapy session over a period of time, develops a connection with that social worker, and then suddenly, the social worker has left for whatever reason; there must be some better way for social workers, who understandably will have reasons for leaving a post, but there must be a better way to help their clients transition more smoothly for this type of change. The same goes for psychiatrists.. it is very hard on the patient when their Dr. suddenly leaves for professional or personal reasons.. I guess this is the inherent problem with mental illness itself.. it never goes away.. so its very hard on those patients who really rely on the relationship with their social worker and psychiatrist for help. Wondering if you have a comment on this problem which I think is particularly unique to the mental health field of care?
Glen K Dunbar April 19, 2012 at 10:03 PM
Thank you Mr. Go Rams. Nice to know SOMEONE is finally on MY side which is ALWAYS right. :) My experience in a nutshell was a social worker at a hospital squealed on me to another agency w/o concreete proof about what her opinion was. Luckily, I was able to weasel out of it. But, it is the prinipal of the thing. She only squealed because I was Glen Dunbar and wanted to make an example of me. I should have sued. But, I let it go. I should also politelly note that even the press at times can violate a freedom of press. What is the moto a reporter will never release his/her informant?? That does not apply to a certain media and situation back when Glen


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