By Paul R. Pace
More people are entering the social work field because the life-affirming services that social workers provide are needed more than ever.
This is especially true as the nation continues to contend with the COVID-19 pandemic, systemic racism, economic inequality, global warming, and other crises.
That is why the theme for Social Work Month 2022 is "The Time is Right for Social Work.”
Each March, NASW encourages social workers and their fans to participate in Social Work Month activities, which promotes the value and raises awareness of the profession.
To aid social workers and their supporters in the campaign, NASW produces helpful materials at SocialWorkMonth.org. It includes:
- A draft press release and draft letter to the editor: Visitors can use the release and letters to the editor to inform their local media about Social Work Month.
- A sample online toolkit that includes proclamations, which social workers can send to city, local or state government officials. It has information on the contributions of social work and why the profession is so valued.
- Social Work Month logos the public can use during Social Work Month for promotional materials.
- Social Work Month merchandise to promote “The Time is Right Social Work” theme. Jim Coleman, LTD, is the official vendor.
Greg Wright, director of communications at NASW, noted the association will host events during the month as well. They include:
- An online quiz: Share a quiz to educate people about some of the many contributions of the profession.
- Celebrity cameos: Watch video messages about the value of social workers from celebrities.
- Ask a Social Worker: Look for the Ask a Social Worker column at NASW’s HelpStartsHere.org.
- Social media campaign: NASW will provide social media messaging to help celebrate the month.
- Radio tour: NASW CEO Angelo McClain and NASW President Mit Joyner will participate in a nationwide radio tour to discuss how social workers are helping address issues of the day.
Social Work Month has grown in popularity.
More than 83,000 people visited NASW’s Social Work Month website between February 1 and April 1, 2021, up from about 50,000 visitors during the same period in 2020.
Those positive numbers were also reflected in NASW’s social media outreach, sharing thousands of pieces of content about the profession that was generated by NASW, its chapters, followers, fans and partners, Wright noted.
Last year’s Social Work Month highlights included:
- NASW reached more than 400,000 people on Facebook and nearly 52,000 viewed our videos, including NASW’s Social Work Month public service announcement.
- The association’s interactions on Instagram increased 32 percent during Social Work Month.
- Visits to NASW’s LinkedIn page increased 11 percent in March from the previous month and 2,200 more people signed up to follow the LinkedIn company page.
- On Twitter, the association shared more than 300 tweets, an increase of 195 percent over the previous month. Almost 1.4 million people saw NASW’s Tweets (impressions) and NASW mentions increased nearly 13 percent.
Social Work is Growing
There are nearly 720,000 social workers nationwide. That number is expected to grow by 12 percent by the end of the decade, making social work one of the fastest growing professions in the nation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Social workers have been an integral part of our nation for decades. Social workers played key roles in the Civil Rights and Women’s Rights movements and pushed for social programs we now take for granted, including the minimum wage, a 40-hour work week, Social Security and Medicare.
The nation needs more social workers as it continues to deal with entrenched problems that have stressed our society, including systemic racism and the Coronavirus pandemic. The United States is also experiencing one of its worst economic downturns since the Great Depression. Social workers are on the front lines, helping people overcome these crises. In fact, social workers are everywhere people need help navigating tough life challenges.
They contribute to interdisciplinary care teams in schools, hospitals, mental health centers, nonprofits, corporations, the military — and in local, state, and federal government.