Elevate Social Work

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March 21, 2019

“Social Work Month in general, is very meaningful for me. It’s a time to make the profession known to other people. I think a lot of people think of social workers as a bunch of “do-gooders”, but yet we are the main profession in mental health.” – Ann Tuszynski

Social Worker Month is a time for social workers across the U.S. to celebrate the profession and educate the public about the vital contributions of the profession. According to the National Association of Social Workers, there are an estimated 682,000 active social workers in the U.S. working in schools, hospitals, mental health facilities and clinics. “Social work is one of the fastest-growing professions in the United States, with about 110,000 more social workers expected to enter the profession in just seven years,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Furthermore, social work employment is projected to grow 16 % by 2026, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.

Social Worker Month is a time for social workers across the U.S. to celebrate the profession and educate the public about the vital contributions of the profession. According to the National Association of Social Workers, there are an estimated 682,000 active social workers in the U.S. working in schools, hospitals, mental health facilities and clinics. “Social work is one of the fastest-growing professions in the United States, with about 110,000 more social workers expected to enter the profession in just seven years,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Furthermore, social work employment is projected to grow 16 % by 2026, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.

Our Director of Clinical Services, Ann Tuszynski, provided additional insight into the profession, its history and her perspective on social work, mental health and housing in San Francisco.

Ann started out working for the New Jersey Bureau of Children’s Services where they sent her to graduate school. From there, she went on to work at the Family Association on the East Coast as the Director of Clinical Services. In 1985, she decided to go into private practice and held her practice for about 21 years. After Ann’s retirement, she moved to San Francisco and in 2016, she was offered her current role at Curry Senior Center.

We asked Ann about her perspective on Social Work Month and what it means to her. “Social Work Month in general, is very meaningful to me because for me it’s a time to make the profession known to other people. I think a lot of people think of social workers as a bunch of “do-gooders”, but yet we are the main profession in mental health.” Ann expressed that this year, Social Work Month is about elevating the profession and letting people know what social workers do. Ann believes that part of being a social worker is being an advocate, not only on the local level, but on the federal level, by making people and legislation aware of what people need.

“I think the most important thing about Social Work Month is it’s a complex profession that most of us tied into social justice as the main tenants of social work.”

A component of advocacy in the field of social work includes advocacy in the San Francisco housing crisis. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, in 2018, $117,400 was considered “low income” for a family of four in Marin, San Mateo and San Francisco counties. Due to the continuous rise in rent, a shifting population and lack of affordable housing, seniors are affected, often leading to homelessness.

“Housing is not just a person being homeless. It is also because we are not building enough low income housing.”

The housing crisis in San Francisco is also tied to mental health issues. Seniors often face severe challenges to their mental health and other personal challenges. At Curry Senior Center, we treat the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, more than just the physical symptoms.

“The two big social justice issues in San Francisco are housing and mental health. What we do at Curry is act as advocates with every one of the agencies we deal with to make sure at least some people have some level of access.”

It has been our privilege to work hand-in-hand with seniors in the Tenderloin. We are mostly grateful for the phenomenal social workers and staff that assist us in bettering the lives of seniors each day.

2019-08-20T09:28:02-05:00