When life’s challenges become overwhelming, social workers can help. Social workers are society’s safety net, providing vital resources and support to those who need it most. Finding help from a social worker sheds light on the great potential and countless possibilities in every person’s life.

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals-Office of Public Health, in collaboration with the National Association of Social Workers, proudly celebrates National Social Work Month 2009.

This year’s theme—Social Work: Purpose and Possibility—highlights the many ways in which social workers assist communities. Social workers are purpose-driven, compassionate individuals who work across a range of areas to help those who are most vulnerable. Social workers provide assistance in hospitals, help children in schools, provide treatment at mental health clinics and play many different roles in our society.

“Social workers tirelessly advocate in federal and state legislatures for individuals, families and communities to receive the supports they need to thrive,” says Elizabeth Clark, PhD, ACSW, MPH, executive director of NASW. “Social workers also help people meet their immediate needs through counseling and resource referrals.”

Social workers are skilled professionals who use their talents to help others create better lives for themselves and their families. Some social workers help clients who face a disability or a life-threatening disease or a social problem. Some assist families that have domestic conflicts involving children or spousal abuse. Other conduct research, advocate for improved services or are involved in policy development.

“Social workers are a critical asset to our society,” says Patricia Calvin Scott, MSW, LCSW; Louisiana State Director of Public Health Social Work. “Social workers work with people facing difficult situations and help them overcome barriers that keep them from leading positive and productive lives.”

LDH salutes the social workers who work throughout the Office of Public Health in the program offices and parish health units in the following clinics: Children’s Special Health Services, Family Planning, Maternity, STD, Genetics, and the community.