This March 7 to 13, over 20,000 Registered Social Workers across Ontario are celebrating Social Work Week.
This year’s campaign comes at a pivotal moment for mental health. Two years into the pandemic, Ontarians are navigating the mental health impacts of anxiety, stress, and burnout like never before. Across the province, the country and the globe, people are looking for hope and for signs of brighter days as they navigate complex challenges and an even more complicated world.
Our 2022 Social Work Week theme of #MoreThanEver speaks to this unprecedented need for mental health and addictions support across the province, and the vital role of social workers in ensuring mental health access for all Ontarians.
More than ever, I am proud of the tremendous dedication of social workers across the province, who are working tirelessly to support Ontarians' mental health and well-being. The past weeks and months have been particularly difficult for many of us – and now more than ever, it’s critical that we take care of ourselves, and each other.
Social workers have been on the frontlines of mental health access, support and recovery. It’s what we do. And while we clearly understand that social workers are essential providers of mental health supports, we’re encouraged to know that Ontarians do too.
Our recent Leger Poll uncovered new data about Ontarians’ mental health, with many reporting a decline in their own or their loved ones’ mental health in the past year. The survey also revealed surprising new insights on the pandemic’s far-reaching mental health impacts for adults, caregivers, families and workers.
Importantly, social workers across the province should know that 4 in 5 Ontarians agree that the work you do is essential to our mental health recovery. Ontarians have shared that in health care, long-term care, schools, community mental health, addictions support, private practice and more, social workers are providing them with hope, and with the tools and skills they need to cope.
Finally, while Ontarians overwhelmingly believe mental health supports should be made available to those that need it, less than a third believe these supports are easily accessible.
In a few short months, Ontarians are heading to the polls. While we we’ve seen significant investments in mental health and addictions supports in recent years, we know that people across the province need more supports, and that they need them sooner.
Now more than ever, it’s time to take action on mental health. This Social Work Week, I am calling on social workers and our colleagues across Ontario to join in our advocacy and advance our shared message of ensuring mental health access for all.
To get there will take everyone, including employers, funders, policy-makers, and Ontario’s 20,000+ social workers, working together to ensure that the supports Ontarians want and need are truly within reach.
On behalf of OASW and our over 8,000 members, thank you for taking part in this year's Social Work Week and thank you for standing alongside us. Your support is critical, now more than ever.
Deepy Sur, MSW, PhD, RSW
CEO, Ontario Association of Social Workers