May 10, 2022
Written by Sarah Fancey, MSW Practicum Student
March marks the beginning of Social Work Month in Ontario, and it also happens to coincide with the one year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.
How Can Social Workers Support Clients Experiencing COVID-19 Isolation?
Many of us are feeling more isolated from others, and may experience changes in our mood, feelings of anxiety, and worsening mental health overall. These experiences have been reflected in a recent study by the Canadian Mental Health Association. Research has shown that reaching out to others during periods of isolation can boost your mood, whether it be talking to a mental health professional or a friend. Luckily, there are lots of ways that social workers can provide support during this time.
Social workers providing clinical therapy can support clients through feelings of isolation, grief and bereavement, anxiety, and more. They do so by listening and providing emotional support, through education and teaching their clients skills to manage their feelings, and by exploring healthier ways to cope. Social workers have knowledge on relevant community supports, and can help to connect clients to these services. Some examples may include: Food, housing, transportation, personal and medical care, and financial assistance, to name a few.
Most services have gone virtual in the past year and many groups have continued through the use of Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or other web-based video platforms. Social workers can lead different kinds of groups, including therapy skills, emotional or grief support, educational, and mindfulness meditation. These virtual groups allow us to remain connected to others while staying safe at home.
How to Find a Social Worker:
Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities has social workers who provide short-term clinical therapy services through our Interprofessional Primary Care Team. A referral from a family doctor or nurse practitioner is required.
Another option is through an employee assistance plan (EAP) provider. If you have a benefits plan through your place of employment, you can access social work therapy services this way.
Additionally, many social workers work in private practice. The following websites can help you find a social worker to fit your needs:
About the profession of social work:
Tips for coping with isolation: