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“All People Matter,” is Theme for National Professional Social Workers Month

16 Mar

I came to Health Journeys two years ago, and I continue to be amazed at the number of people who call us to compliment Belleruth and ask us to pass on to her their feedback about the positive effect our audio programs have had on their lives and the lives of their loved ones. It’s heartwarming for us to hear these stories and pass them on to Belleruth, knowing the work we do here each day plays a part in touching peoples’ lives in this way. It’s also helpful, because it provides us with information for other people who ask for ideas about which programs to choose for certain situations.

Most of you are aware of the impact Belleruth has had on the lives of individuals, and you recognize her by her lovely, soothing voice, However, you might not be aware of the tremendous social impact her work has had, and of the contributions she has made to the field of integrative medicine. In researching National Professional Social Workers Month, I learned a lot about the mission of social workers, and how Belleruth’s accomplishments fit so well into this picture.

My friend Tom is a psychiatric social worker in a Southern Ohio facility, and my friend Glen, co-author of my book, is a social worker who dedicated his career to developing EEG Biofeedback techniques he used to help children diagnosed with ADD and ADHD. I have been acquainted with several other members of this caring profession, so even before I came to Health Journeys, I was aware of the good work these people do, but I have to admit that until I researched the profession for National Professional Social Workers Month, I had no idea of the key role the members of this profession played in shaping our current society. I am happy to share that information with you.

For more than 100 years, social workers have been advocates on the cutting edge of some of the most significant changes affecting our lives today. They include our current labor laws regulating minimum wage, overtime and non-discriminatory hiring, along with unemployment insurance, Social Security and workplace safety regulations. Civil rights legislation, programs that help victims of domestic violence, regional food banks, equitable treatment of people with mental illness and developmental disabilities and a host of other benefits that touch our lives on a daily basis came about largely as a result of the efforts of professional social workers.

Since the profession began, in 1898 when the first social work class was held at Columbia University, social workers have been speaking out against abuse and neglect, bringing social problems to the forefront and advocating for the rights of all people, regardless of gender, race, socio-economic level, faith or sexual orientation. The slogan, “All People Matter,” sums it up quite well and is an excellent choice by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) for the slogan of the 2014 National Professional Social Workers Month.

Our hats are off to all members of this truly helping profession as we mention the contributions of a few well-known social workers:

Jane Addams, recognized as the founder of the social work profession in the United States, established Chicago’s famous Hull House, the first community settlement house of its kind in this country, and was a dedicated peace activist and the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Social Worker Frances Perkins was the first woman to be appointed to a U.S. President’s cabinet. As Secretary of Labor under FDR, Perkins played a key role in writing legislation for the New Deal, including the Civilian Conservation Corps and the labor portion of the National Labor Recovery Act. Through the Fair Labor Standards Act, she established the first minimum wage and overtime laws for American workers.

In 1920, Congress passed the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution, which prohibited any citizen from being denied the right to vote on the basis of sex. That triumph came about because of the sacrifices and contributions of fearless suffragettes, many of them social workers like Alice Stokes Paul, who fought a tireless battle to secure the women’s vote.
 
Whitney M. Young, Jr. was a social worker and civil rights leader who became president of the National Urban League in 1961, took the organization from 38 members to 1,600 and brought the organization to the forefront of the American Civil Rights Movement. In 1970, as president of the NASW, he issued this challenge to members: “The crisis in health and welfare services in our nation today highlights for NASW what many of us have been stressing for a long time: inherent in the responsibility for leadership in social welfare is responsibility for professional action.”

No mention of the contributions of social workers would be complete without including our own Belleruth Naparstek, LISW, BCD. Psychotherapist, author, speaker, guided imagery pioneer and creator of the popular Health Journeys audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award. Highlighted in the 20th anniversary edition of their seminal book, Courage to Heal, Ellen Bass and Laura Davis call Invisible Heroes, “the most useful book for trauma survivors to be published in the last decade.”

As Prevention Magazine noted, Belleruth has been quietly creating an underground revolution among mainstream health and mental health bureaucracies, by persuading major institutions such as the U.S. Veteran’s Administration, The American Red Cross, Aetna U.S. Healthcare, Kaiser Permanente, Blue Shield of California, United Health Care, Oxford Health Plan, GlaxoSmithKline, Ortho Biotech, Roche, Abbott, Amgen, and more than 2000 hospitals, mental health centers, recovery clinics and vet centers to distribute her guided imagery recordings.

In addition, her audio programs have been involved in over two-dozen clinical trials. Efficacy has been established for several psychological and medical challenges, most recently for PTSD at Duke University Medical Center/Durham Veterans Administration Hospital and inflammation and sleep disturbance following heart surgery at University of Michigan School of Nursing.
Health Journeys CD’s used in the two trials were Healing Trauma and Healthful Sleep.

Join us during National Social Workers Month in saluting Belleruth, her innovative spirit and her many accomplishments.

Bless all the fine members of this profession. Where would we be without them?

In order to recognize social workers and the good work they do, and encourage them to care for themselves as they do for others, Health Journeys is offering a special price on our Caregiver Self-Care Set through the end of March. Just use the code SW2014 at checkout to get the kit for the special price of $29.95 (regularly priced at $43.26) also this code gives social workers 15 percent off any regularly priced CD or download until the end of the month.

For more information about social workers, go to www.socialworkers.org

We welcome your comments and suggestions and as always, we would love to hear from you.

Maggie DeMellier

Maggie DeMellier has been Health Journeys go-to customer service representative and marketing associate since March 2012. She worked as a surgical technician and pharmacy technician before she earned a BA in Mass Media Communication at The University of Akron. She operates a freelance writing business, specializing in medical ads, news articles, police blotters, features and business writing.  She was a teacher at a career college for six years, and earned a MA in Forensic Psychology in 2010. Maggie is the co-author of Parenting by Law or Grace, published by Synchronisity Press, in 2004.