Social Work Month 2021

2021 social work month essential

The theme for Social Work Month 2021 is 'Social Workers are Essential'. Social workers are essential to community well-being. As practitioners, social workers are trained to help people address personal and systemic barriers to optimal living. They are employed to effect positive change with individuals, families, groups and entire communities. Click the 'Social Workers are Essential' icon to learn more about this year's theme!

Social Work History

In 1898 at Columbia University, the first social work class was offered. Ever since, social workers have accomplished the creation of an abundance of public, private and charitable organizations for the impoverished, oppressed and vulnerable.

Because of the efforts and discipline of early social workers, society today would not be nearly as supported or protected. Some of these accomplishments include:

  • The civil rights of all people regardless of gender, race, faith, or sexual orientation are protected.
  • Workers enjoy unemployment insurance, disability pay, worker’s compensation and Social Security.
  • People with mental illness and developmental disabilities are now afforded humane treatment.
  • Medicaid and Medicare give poor, disabled and elderly people access to health care.
  • Society seeks to prevent child abuse and neglect.
  • Treatment for mental illness and substance abuse is gradually losing its stigma.

In 1998, social work celebrated its 100 year anniversary, and the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work is celebrated its 50th anniversary last year. To learn more about the history of the GSSW, click here.

final spcial work pioneers

social worker's role in pandemic

Social workers across the globe have been impacted by the pandemic, and in may ways has altered every way they may go about their practice. While this depends on factors like the location someone practices, what kind of social work they practice, and the level of administrative support, some of those who see clients in in-person meetings, may be facing lost income. Additionally, some clients' inability to adapt to the problems COVID-19 has brought to the surface may challenge social work practitioners further, as they must determine how to continue their clients care.

Sandra A. Lopez, MSW, LCSW, ACSW, DCSW, is a retired clinical professor from the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work.

"What I believe is the most challenging for us as social workers is that we have all been thrust into a dual world where we are in the role of helper and the role of griever, as the pandemic is impacting us as human beings as well. This has placed us in a unique role of helping others at a time when we may be needing our own support. This clearly emphasizes the need for all of us to heighten and maximize our self-care practices to face these pandemic times," Lopez said.

To read more about social workers' experiences during the global pandemic, click here.

better social advocacy img.

Every alternating year, the National Association of Social Workers Texas, NASW-TX invites 1,000 plus social workers and social work students to the Texas capitol building for a day to encourage and celebrate advocacy.

Due to the nature of the pandemic, NASW-TX is disappointed to not be holding their traditional in-person meetings and conferences, but have opportunities for social work students and administrators to tune in to throughout the week, centered around a specific theme each day.

To learn more about resources on the NASW-TX website in regard to this week and the schedule of SWAD events being offered, click here.

Black Social Workers Matter


This past January, students within the Garland School of Social Work community started an organization called "Black Leaders Moving Social Work," to bring awareness to many of the issues on campus they held to be important, as well as the informing of their followers in topics such as intersectionality, racial trauma healing and more. Click here to view their Instagram page.

Prominence of Social Workers in Mental Health

mental professionals graphic Within the overarching realm of mental health, more than half (60% plus) of all trained mental health professionals are social workers, displaying their majority over the profession.

check out these sw podcasts


Join Kerri Fisher, full-time lecturer in the Garland School of Social Work, is the co-host along with college friend Shane Blackshear of "OnRamp." This podcast serves to be a starting point for individuals just beginning in the conversation about race, through a lens of the two's Christian faith. To check out Fisher and Blackshear's podcast, click here.

"CXMH" Podcast

Dr. Holly Oxhandler, along with Robert Vore, are hosts of the Christianity & Mental Health Podcast, a show that strives to unite the Christian faith and the realm of mental well-being. According to a listener review on Apple music, the "CXMH" Podcast hosts "have clear, honest conversation and integrate Christianity in with their clinical experience and academic backgrounds... as a therapist intern at a Christian school in a secular outplacement, getting their take on the wide range of topics they discuss is refreshing." On two episodes in particular, Dean of Baylor's Garland School of Social Work, Jon Singletary, joins Oxhandler to discuss enneagrams and their application to all aspects of life.


Hosted by the University at Buffalo School of Social Work, this show has been on air since 2008. The podcast topics range from inequalities & disparities in social justice to trauma-informed care, as well as asks for suggestions from their listeners for episode focuses of discussions. To learn more about inSocialWork®, click here.

"The Social Work Podcast"

Jonathan Singer (Ph.D., LCSW) hosts one of the most well-known podcasts in the field, "The Social Work Podcast." The show has an archive of over 100 episodes and has been running for more than 12 years. Singer's goal is to educate his listeners in the most "user-friendly" format to understand, and the podcast's content can be useful for not only social workers, but nurses, teachers, psychologists and more. To check out Singer's podcast, click here.