To the editor, 

March is Social Work month, and this year’s theme is Elevate Social Work. Every day, nearly 700,000 social workers nationwide work to elevate and empower others, giving them the ability to solve life’s problems, cope with personal roadblocks and get the services they need. The Minnesota Chapter of the National Association of Social Work has 1800 social workers across the state.  

You may not realize it, but social workers are in schools, hospitals and mental health clinics. Social workers contribute to advocating for community health through the legislative process. An example, Representative Lien’s Bill HF 1340 and Senator Utke’s Bill SF 1229 to enforce mental health parity within the State of Minnesota.  

At FirstLight Health System, the social work department responds to patient needs, helping them recover from sickness. A social worker provides psycho-education and facilitates support groups such as Caregiver group. The social work department is part of the suboxone program. This includes a psychosocial support group in the treatment of opioid dependence. 

Social Work professionals are in the area schools, helping students overcome issues that prevent them from getting a good education, and they protect children who experience abuse and/or neglect. 

Food4Me is a backpack program initiated by a school based social worker. Kanabec County Social Services provide services to adults, families and children. Social workers help children find a forever home through adoption. 

Social workers are mental health therapists assisting patients to live with life stressors such as mental health challenges, and other stressors.  

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, social work is one of the fastest-growing professions in the United States, with 100,000 more social workers expected to enter the profession in just seven years. 

Social workers are needed as the community, state and nation grapple with issues such as income equality, preventing suicide, ensuring good health care for all. Social Work is a professionally licensed career, with accountability to the Minnesota Board of Social Work. 

During Social Work Month, I urge you to learn more about the social work profession, and how you can help this profession continue to make this town, county, state, nation improve the quality of life of individuals.

Don Uhlhorn, MSW, LICSW


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