Most people with whom the average social worker comes into contact daily face complex life problems. They may be mentally or physically disabled, victims of violence or discrimination, addicted to drugs or alcohol, or living dysfunctional lives.
Unfortunately, these problems make them more susceptible to unhealthy lifestyles. If an individual abuses substances, they are unlikely to eat a proper diet or seek medical assistance when needed. If they are a victim of violence in the home, they may find themselves overeating or undereating to cope with their stress.
One of the roles of a social worker is to help these people adopt healthier lifestyles. This may seem like an easy part of the job compared to everything else they have to do, but it can be quite difficult to get people to quit habits that help them cope with difficult situations.
Social work training helps students learn how to help their clients lead more productive and happier lives. They know how to address human needs and understand economic and social injustice and poverty.
Those who enroll in an online master’s in social work at Cleveland State University learn about human behavior, social environments, and social welfare policy. They also learn about disparities, diversity, and inclusion within communities and the population.
Although it may only make up a small part of the curriculum, social work students are also taught about healthy lifestyles. They learn how they can help their clients improve the quality of their lives by improving their lifestyles.
Social workers are always on a quest to find ways to help their clients change how they live so they can get more out of their lives. Here is a look at some of the responsibilities you may take on in your role.
Learn to spot the signs of an unhealthy lifestyle.
As a social worker, you are the first line of contact between your clients and medical services, which means you should be able to spot when a client’s health is declining. You may take vitals such as blood pressure, heart rate, blood sugar levels, and weight.
These metrics can point to a larger problem; it is your job to understand when intervention is needed.
If, for example, a client has developed high blood pressure or gained a lot of weight quickly, you should refer them to a qualified professional who can perform a proper assessment of the problem and provide solutions.
Know where the resources are and how clients can get them
Many socially disadvantaged people live with problems for years because they do not know that resources are available or how to access them.
A common example is people with disabled children. They may not know that government and private organizations offer education, healthcare, and other types of assistance in every state.
As a social worker, you must know what resources you can offer your clients. You should also know how to navigate the bureaucracy often found in the institutions that offer these resources so you can provide help quickly and efficiently.
Help clients connect with jobs.
One of the most common reasons for an unhealthy lifestyle is a lack of proper resources in the home. If a family or individual does not earn enough money, they may be unable to care for themselves.
Social workers can help families and individuals connect with job opportunities to have a dependable paycheck to care for their needs.
Discourage bad habits
Most people live unhealthy lifestyles because of the bad habits they have formed. They may become smokers, drinkers, drug users, overeaters, or socially withdrawn.
One of your roles is to help people break away from bad habits that impact their lifestyle. You can connect them with resources and institutions willing to help, or you can help them by having regular counseling sessions.
For example, if a client is overweight, you can help them find weight management programs.
Work with the family to help the individual.
Involving the whole family when delivering intervention means that you can all work toward the same goals. You can help family members understand the problem, the proposed solutions, and their role in helping their loved one improve.
Provide basic lifestyle education.
Many people live poor lifestyles because they do not know any better. If you encounter such clients, you should help them understand a healthy lifestyle and why it is important.
Set goals they should aim for and evaluate them periodically to see whether they are on the right track.
Work with the community to understand the value of a healthy lifestyle.
If a community has lifestyle goals, everyone will work together to achieve them, and they will likely become healthier in the long term.
A social worker can, for example, set up a weekly exercise program for older adults in the community. Not only will they get their blood pumping, but they will also get a valuable chance to socialize and make friends.
Learn to escalate
Social workers do plenty of work to help their clients, but occasionally they may encounter a problem that requires more specialized assistance. In these cases, they should escalate the problem to their superiors and other health professionals who are better placed to provide technical help.
Social worker ensures their clients live healthier, happier lifestyles. They do this using a combination of the skills they develop in school, the resources available, and the needs of the community they serve.
Social workers also need to know to assess a situation (or an individual) and decide how best to work with them to help them be as healthy as possible.