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“If social work is to play an important role in change, the public must understand the profession and the challenges it faces,” writes Michael Multan in ‘Healthy Debate’

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As demand for access to mental health resources and mental health professionals grows, we need to better understand social workers and the challenges they face, says Michael Multan, a pathology resident at the University of British Columbia.

Multan wrote an opinion piece for Healthy Debate, inspired, in part by how he saw social workers treated during medical school and his rotating internship. He spoke to Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream Keith Adamson, Past-President of the Ontario Association of Social Workers (OASW); Assistant Professor Rachelle Ashcroft, Vice-President, Social and Professional Advocacy at OASW; and FIFSW alumna Cindy Blackstock, a Professor at McGill’s School of Social Work and Executive Director of First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada.

Writes Multan:

In Canada, social work consists of four years of undergraduate education with an option for further masters or doctoral level training. Social workers are employed in a wide range of environments – hospitals, school boards, community centres, private practice – and in some regions already work alongside police officers responding to crisis calls.

“(Social work) students are trained in performing comprehensive psychosocial assessments through a cultural lens,” explains Adamson. “Cultural context is at the forefront. Social workers are experts in this and right now society needs someone to help negotiate the complexities around culture to allow more people to fully participate in their lives”.

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