March is Social Work Month and this year social workers across the country honor pioneer Frances Perkins, who was inspired by the tragedy of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire that killed 146 people, mostly women. It moved her to activism that landed her as the first female secretary of labor in President Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration. More importantly, she used her position to improve conditions for working people, as social workers do every day across the country. Did you know that there are more than 600,000 people employed in the field? Social workers are the largest group of mental health care providers in the U.S. Among their many roles, they help people overcome depression, anxiety, substance use conditions and other disorders so they can lead more fulfilling lives. Social workers are the gateway to hope and always strive to ensure that those in need can reach their full potential.
We honor the important work of social workers at Bournewood and throughout the many agencies and organizations who rely on these dedicated human services clinicians who make an indelible mark on the quality of life for many people in need. Thank you for your service.
A recent NPR news segment talked about new and innovative way social workers' skills can make a difference not only for people living with substance use conditions, but also for economic health and viability of affordable health care. "Insurers hire social workers to tackle the opioid epidemic" shows how one insurer has acknowledged the unique expertise of social workers and brought them on as care managers for the people they insure.
CeltiCare Health Plan is one of a few health insurance companies aggressively taking on the opioid crisis with innovative solutions. The NPR segment is a close look at some of the ways all stakeholders across the Commonwealth are working together to help save lives.
On another note, this article, "Language of addiction itself can hurt, advocates say," is a powerful reminder that words have power, and sometimes not in a positive way.
We can make a big impact in the lives of people living with substance use conditions by changing the way we talk about it, about them, and understand how our language around it has such influence. Words come before action and when we're all on the same page, the vision of a society where substance use and mental health conditions are treated as the significant public health challenges that they are may become the reality.