What does a social worker do?
A social worker provides services in a variety of ways to meet the needs of students in school. Sometimes these needs are met through referrals to community agencies and sometimes these needs are met through individual or group counseling services. It is the role of the school social worker to address barriers to education so the student can meet their full potential.
What kinds of topics might a student need to talk with a social worker about?
Social workers are involved in crisis intervention and brief treatment of short term issues. Although school social workers are skilled to deal with a variety of issues that students may present with, not all issues should be handled in school. Some more serious mental health concerns are likely better served by private therapists and your school social worker will gladly provide some community resources. Anything that impacts a child's school day is appropriate for a school social worker to address and after identifying the specific needs, that social worker will make a plan of action.
What are the most common issues that students come to a social worker about?
The most common issues for students varies by grade. In elementary schools, students most likely are referred to a school social worker for behavioral issues or classroom disruptions. Social skills are things that children need to learn and for most elementary students, they haven't had much exposure to peers until they reach school. Students at MIS and Pierce Middle School are most likely to be dealing with peer issues. Adolescents struggle with independence and fitting in so students at those ages may experience bullying, peer conflicts, or confusion about their identity and who they want to be. Students at the high school are most likely referred for emotional concerns like depression or anxiety. It is in the teenage years when much brain development takes place and for many teenagers this can be a confusing time. It is not uncommon for the pressures of college, career and beyond to take a toll on teenagers at MHS.
I am worried about my child. What can I do to get help for them?
A good place to start is with your school social worker! Regardless of the problem, the school social worker has a wealth of information and resources to point you in the right direction for finding help for your child.