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Policy issues that social workers are facing.



Social work in the mental health system came into limelight in 1920 when the Tavistock clinic was given a social worker. Most social workers used the psychosocial model in offering their services that was based on psychodynamic mechanisms and a belief on interventions that are non-medical and social in nature. The roles of social workers have undergone evolution into a state where they are regarded as professional practitioners. Mental health is a field that allows social workers to offer their services in collaboration with other stakeholders with integrity and use of their knowledge.

Policy Issues

Political aspects affect social work thus it is essential that social workers should be conversant with the political issues in the society that affect their profession. Social workers encounter various challenges during service delivery. Some problems arise from the complexity of problems of social health, which are not of medical nature. The unique position that social workers enjoy in the society address both individual and the community challenges. The responsibilities may result to a dilemma in providing the best services to individuals and loyalty to the different agencies and authorities in mental health. Problems that are social in nature means that social workers within mental health are required to work together with other health professionals to solve the issues (Saraceno, et al., 2007).

Social workers face the challenge of a changing financial structure within the healthcare system. The health care system is cost-sensitive and driven by market needs. The view of services as products means that it is provided within a given time period and costs are placed to govern the service provision. Social workers in the field of mental health face the challenge of interpreting social values, community responsibility and social injustice in reference to different social backgrounds that people come from. Often the provision of health services has been marred with political interest for instance in the United States health services are considered private thus attaining social justice and health rights may be difficult for all populations. Some regions do not have social work professionals in their departments and funding for public health interventions do not support social work programs (Saraceno, et al., 2007).

Another policy issue affecting social workers is the risk distribution amongst care programs. The responsibility of the risks on disability and other behavioral problems should not be placed on one agency, as many health professionals are involved to ensure that interventions put in place are a success. There are no frameworks that guide on how the risk should be shared amongst different agencies. Policies and advocacy is encouraged to address these issues. Social workers need to be given more skills and knowledge about management of diseases and other chronic conditions that precipitate mental health illnesses (Burns, et al. 2004).


The issues faced by social workers within the mental health field can be addressed by coming up with proper policies that govern social work profession and putting up professional structures which govern service provision. Social justice and values should be encouraged within social work practice to encourage effective programs that have positive impact in the end. Social workers within the mental health field need continuously to update their knowledge and skills to enhance their confidence in service provision. They need to recommend and advocate for appropriate policies that govern their profession.

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