Health and mental health, two inter-related human conditions, are important to maintain in society for the wellbeing of an individual. Anybody facing issues with these may need the assistance of a social worker to help improve their overall quality of life. Depending on the health issue, social work may intervene through teaching, crisis management or even through a set of healthcare related policies which apply to whole communities.
According to Statistics Canada, in 2012 approximately 2.8 million individuals reported symptoms consistent with at least one of six mental/substance use disorders – these include depression, bipolar behavior, anxiety disorder and abuse or dependence on alcohol/cannabis or other drugs. Furthermore, approximately 17% of Canadians over the age of 15 perceived themselves as needing some sort of care for their mental health¹. Thus, it can be seen that mental health is a persistent issue in society.
The role of social work in terms of health-related issues can fall under prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. Prevention looks at reducing the incidence of mental health illnesses; treatment looks at reducing the prevalence of already existing mental health illnesses within society; and rehabilitation looks at eliminating the after effects of the mental disorder. Thus, with such a high prevalence of health-related illnesses, the importance of social work cannot be overstated.