January 31, 2022
Thank You Social Workers: Unsung Heroes of the Frontline
When you think of keyworkers, you often picture healthcare professionals or teachers, but social workers provide one of our most essential frontline services, never more so than during the pandemic. Read on to find out more about the crucial work of these very special unsung heroes, and how to say thank you to social workers for all they do.
What do social workers do?
Social workers work with some of the most vulnerable and marginalised people in our society. Their work is extremely varied, spanning many sectors, settings and job roles, depending on the needs of the people they support. But one thing they have in common is that they are there to fight for rights, challenge inequalities, and improve the social wellbeing of individuals, families and communities. In this way, social workers empower people to manage their own lives, be more independent and participate fully in society, helping to create a safer, more inclusive world for us all to live in.
Social worker values include:
- Willingness to help - it's a very challenging profession, so social workers are driven by an instinct to help others and to make a difference.
- Keen sense of social justice - their role is to provide assistance in order to alleviate suffering that social injustice has caused, and know how to find the right support channels.
- Respect for humanity - championing equal rights, safeguarding the dignity of the person they are supporting, looking after their wellbeing and promoting their rights, is at the heart of what social workers do.
- Kindness - kindness and compassion is the driving force that pushes social workers through difficult days.
- Professional integrity - key traits of reliability, honesty and trustworthiness uphold the values and reputation of the social work profession.
Why should we say thank you to social workers?
So, why do we need to say thank you to social workers and what's so special about the work they do? Read on to find out:
Social work helps create a fairer society
We live in a complex society, where the widening gap between the poorest and the most wealthy members, means that marginalisation and social exclusion are on the rise, as is social injustice and discrimination. Pair this with a global pandemic that has had a detrimental effect on people's lives and wellbeing, then it's clear to see that the role of the social worker has never been more important. Now more than ever, social workers are needed to fight to improve the lives of others, and create a better and fairer society for everyone.
Social workers wear many hats
Another reason why social workers are so special, is because of the multi-faced nature of their role. Many people associate social work with poverty alleviation or child welfare, but this is only part of what the job entails. Social workers support a wide range of people: children, families, the elderly, prisoners, and people with physical or mental disabilities or illness among others. Plus they work in diverse settings, from community based offices and health centres, to residential care homes, hospitals, prisons and schools to name but a few - it really is a career like no other, and for this we need to say a big 'thank you' to social workers.
It's a challenging job
Social work is a very challenging profession. Social workers are often exposed to highly emotional situations, and it can be very difficult not to be affected, when dealing with them every day. It can lead to emotional exhaustion, anxiety and depression. In addition, schedules are very unpredictable, so it can be difficult to find a work-life balance. As society changes, the population ages, and mental health illnesses rise, so the workload and admin time increases, which can lead to burnout. Showing our appreciation, and saying thank you to social workers for what can sometimes feel like a thankless task, can bring positivity when times are tough.
The pandemic has created unprecedented challenges
The challenges that social workers face have been exacerbated by the pandemic. It has not only bought a new wave of problems to society, but also made it much harder for social workers to carry out their duty of care. They have had to adapt quickly with no time to prepare and make very difficult decisions. Plus, the use of video and phone calls instead of essential face-to face interactions, has made it harder to spot issues and raise concerns, among many other challenges.
The recent Health and Social Care Workforce Study (a collaboration between Ulster University, Queen's University Belfast, Bath Spa University and King's College London) has been assessing the mental wellbeing, quality of working life, burnout and coping strategies in health professionals and social workers over the course of the pandemic. It found social workers were more likely to feel overwhelmed than other healthcare professionals, with a huge 69.4% reporting this.
How can we say thank you to social workers?
Saying thank you has great benefits for both the thanker and the recipient. Gratitude is associated with improving happiness, positivity and health and wellbeing, as well as increasing our capacity to deal with adversity, and build strong relationships with others. All these things will make a difference to a hard-working social worker.
TAP (Thank and Praise) is the perfect way to say thank you to social workers. It's a unique thanking platform, designed to make it easy for people to show their gratitude to the unsung heroes of healthcare, social care and education - plus you can raise money for good causes too!
You can say thank you to social workers in a variety of ways:
Send a personal message
All you need to do is complete a form, including the person's name, organisation and your message of thanks, and TAP will do the rest. You can send a message on TAP's social media channels too on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Send a public message on a thanking wall
By posting a message on our social care thanking wall, you can express your gratitude to social workers for all to see, so everyone can celebrate their achievements. Simply choose the organisation you want to thank from the list, and post your message.
We hope you enjoyed reading all about the wide-ranging role of our incredible social workers and why they deserve a big thank you. Social workers are unsung heroes of society, and we are so grateful for their hard work and dedication!