Mental Health System Issues: The Impact on Psychiatric Social Workers and Patients

This takes me to the growing problem within the mental health arena resulting from systemic issues. For clinicians in the trenches, depending upon where you work, salaries overall are still less than what we deserve. Of course, this statement is based on my own personal opinion and many people out there may not agree with me on this.

You have social workers who work multiple venues including schools, foster care agencies, the Administration for Children’s Services, public or privately run hospitals, medical or psychiatric settings, shelters, government agencies, intensive case management organizations, residential facilities for the disabled, nursing homes, and substance use settings.

As social work professionals, our needs are not being met in terms of salary, clinically, or otherwise. Many of you out there know what I mean when I say we get paid less to do more. Again, some of you reading this may disagree with me, but think for a moment about all of the tasks entailed within each job description that do not justify our pay grade. For many of us out there who are not being provided with enough clinical supervision, the demands and rise in caseloads have doubled, and for some tripled, over the last 5 years. Most of this can be attributed to our individual state and local government officials and changes in public policy toward cutbacks on services, not only in mental health, but also for the physically disabled, waiver services, hearing impaired, special needs population, and the list continues.

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