The Importance of Human Relationships

World Social Work Day 2020 is Tuesday 17th March, and is an opportunity for us to share the positive impact that Social Work has, both on our own lives and on society. 

This year the theme of World Social Work day is the Importance of Human Relationships.

International Federation of Social Workers Secretary-General, Rory Truell said “This theme highlights that co-determining relationships between people, communities, nations are essential in addressing the social, economic and ecological challenges. Drawing on the core skills of bringing people together to balance needs in celebrated diversity, social work has a significant and essential contribution to make in every society” 

Originally I was going to write about human relationships being the foundation for Social Work, however as the situation of COVID-19 unfolds I couldn’t take my thoughts away from how we as Social Workers can play a role in how we navigate these challenging times.  

I’ve read a lot about the importance of social distancing at the moment and it’s looking more likely that this may be imposed for many people. However I think that the term is misleading as while staying physically distant from others will be important we are still able to connect and continue our relationships in many ways.

Even when not able to be face to face with the families that we work with, there may be other ways to work with them and to be a support. I also see this as an opportunity to encourage families to connect with one another while spending more time at home , to model empathy to children and to create positive memories in spite of the situation.  

Some ideas you can do as a worker to prepare and support families when social distancing is recommended: 

  • Model calm behaviour
  • Call clients regularly (this might include checking in with children, asking to speak with them to say hello)
  • Contact the family via video (facetime, zoom etc)
  • Send a message or email to check in
  • Provide clear information about what is happening (If needed explain in language that is easy to understand)
  • Provide information on where to get up to date information (and possibly places to avoid getting information from too)
  • Help parents to explain to their children what is happening in an age appropriate way
  • Encourage positive parenting
  • Encourage and support parents to keep routines for children as much as possible
  • Provide information and resources for ways for both parents and children to process what is happening (journaling, art, self care kits).
  • Provide some resources for fun activities at home
  • Encourage parents to provide fun memories for children during this time.
  • Create or alter current safety plans or similar to manage any risks if the family are required to all stay home
  • Give appropriate numbers to both parents and children in case of emergency

Now more than ever we need Social Workers to support and advocate for vulnerable people and to continue to encourage human relationships in innovative ways. 

Comment below with what ideas you might have to support families during this time?

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