Important Role of Mental Health Social Worker

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With the aim of bettering different communities and the individuals living there, it’s no wonder why social work is a really important field of work. The people undertaking work in this field – social workers –  are an indispensable part of our society. They’re trained to provide support and customised care plans that are driven by their client’s unique needs. This is a highly specialised profession and social workers who have completed a master of social work qualification are equipped to offer personalised support in the form of counselling, general awareness, access to relevant information, referrals, and care management.

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Importance of Social Workers

Due to the diverse nature of their job, social workers perform multiple duties including case management and coordination of care, direct counselling and psychotherapy services, support during emergencies, crisis intervention, development and implementation of treatment plans, advocacy for clients within the healthcare system, and facilitating their client’s well-being.

Hence, social workers are concerned with the physical and mental well-being of individuals and the community as a whole. Their objectives include the dispensation of equity in society through equal access to resources and support for all. They aim to minimise the systemic problems of a society, mainly poverty, homelessness, mental health issues, unemployment, unequal distribution of resources, and other flaws of the social system. 

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Role of Social Workers in Mental Health

Despite the advancement in this field and the general awareness regarding mental health issues in our society, many countries are still behind in addressing these issues and minimising their harmful effects on individuals. According to the National Study of Mental Health and Wellbeing, research conducted in the period 2020-2022 revealed that 42.9% of Australians aged 16–85 years experienced a mental disorder sometime in their lives. This underscores the significance of mental healthcare for the betterment of the community as a whole.

Social workers with additional training in mental health issues are Accredited Mental Health Social Workers (AMHSW); their specialised training equips them to deal with these issues more efficiently. Recently, the accredited mental health social worker workforce has experienced significant growth in Australia. From 2017 to 2021, the field experienced an average annual growth rate of 9%. 

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Social workers can create a huge difference in the lives of people through the following:

Direct Practice and Crisis Intervention

Social workers engage directly with the clients and provide facilitation between the client and the concerned care providers. For instance, if a client is depressed and is unable to perform well at their workplace, they can refer to a social worker who can connect the client to the relevant mental healthcare facility. The social worker would also be able to work directly with the client and provide them with a specialised care plan to work on their needs and manage their crisis. Social workers are the middle persons who provide emotional support and guidance to the clients and help them cope with any form of trauma, addiction, conflict, or harm.

Research and Policy Change

Working in the field of mental health involves intensive research and policy development depending on the evolution of disorders and their contributing factors. Social workers contribute immensely to this field of research and development. As they are working directly with the affected individuals, they can analyse and study the factors and suggest appropriate policy measures to tackle them. Research of the social workers helps inform policy changes within the social setup, i.e. in social institutions like schools, colleges, hospitals, etc.

Clinical Diagnosis and Treatment

Accredited mental health social workers can offer a variety of therapy and counselling services to individuals, couples, and even in groups. Their areas of expertise include personality disorders, relationship issues, trauma-related issues, family conflicts, adjustment issues, etc. Since these specialised social workers engage their clients directly, they are better equipped to treat them through the relevant form of therapy.

Case Management and Community Programs

Apart from handling the individual cases of their clients, social workers also research and develop educational programs to raise awareness about mental health. They facilitate support groups, create treatment plans, and intervene when necessary. By assessing the needs of individuals and communities, social workers can identify issues and develop programs that address those issues. For instance, social workers can assist in creating strategic plans targeting mental health, poverty, substance abuse, housing instability, and family dynamics.

Advocacy and Representation

Social workers can create a huge difference in the mental health field due to the nature of their job. They provide a bridge of communication and facilitation whereby people of diverse backgrounds can integrate well into the community. The tailored approach of social workers helps them advocate and represent their clients.


Social workers are the backbone of mental health services, striving to improve lives, promote well-being, and create a more just and compassionate society. Their dedication and expertise contribute significantly to the mental health landscape.

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