When it comes to diagnosing and treating issues of mental health, it can be hard to know whom to turn to. There are so many different types of mental health professionals - from therapists, to psychiatrists, to psychologists, and even counselors - that it is difficult to know what type of mental health professional is right for you. This week The Medical Station discusses the role of a social worker as a mental health professional.
What does a social worker do?
The role of a social worker is to provide help to individuals, groups, couples, or families, in any social, mental, or emotional struggle they may have. Social workers deal with a wide variety of situations, from issues of body image and weight management, to marital problems, mental health disorders, and even grief counselling. Just as the range of people and situations they assess is very vast, as is their employment settings. Social workers can work in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, mental health clinics, private practices, rehab centers, and military bases, among other options. At The Medical Station, our full-service clinic includes social work services, and our two social workers each work with groups, pairs, or individuals through a areas such as weight management, adolescent behavioural problems, and depression. Our social workers also work closely with their client's family physician to develop a care plan that is holistic and well-suited for them.
What are the qualifications of a social worker?
In Canada, social worker require a Bachelor degree (BSW) and often a Master’s degree (MSW) in social work. Social workers are trained to empower individuals and develop their skills and abilities to manage the challenges that they face. Social workers are taught diagnostic skills, critical listening, and various treatment techniques in order to work with such a diverse client base.
Who visits a social worker?
Anyone can go to a social worker. You do not need a referral or a diagnosis. People see social workers for situations as simple as being overwhelmed in school, to circumstances as serious as coping with a terminal illness. Although social work often carries implications of dealing with serious social matters such as abuse and trauma, this stigma is inaccurate, as social workers take on a whole variety of cases and clients.
What does it cost to see a social worker?
Social workers are not covered by OHIP, however, social workers often work in various publicly-funded domains such as schools, community centers, homeless shelters, and children’s aid foundations. At The Medical Station, social work services follow a fee for service model, with varying prices for length and type of appointment. Many medical insurance plans will reimburse clients for social work service fees, so it is important to check your insurance plan coverage before visiting a social worker. Social work services are also tax deductible under medical expenses.