Social workers as super-heroes | Anna Scheyett | TEDxColumbiaSC

Social workers as super-heroes | Anna Scheyett | TEDxColumbiaSC

Reviewer: Denise RQ I have a theme song, come on! I love this song! And I love this song
because everybody needs a hero. And, in fact, at some point,
when life throws us a big challenge, we need a super hero! Somebody who is not scared
to jump into the chaos and fight the good fight
with us shoulder to shoulder, right? So I’ve got good news for you today. Because all around the world, cleverly disguised
as mild mannered individuals, we have thousands of super heroes, over 600,000 of them in the US alone. We just call them social workers. (Applause) (Cheers) Now, for some of you,
when I said super hero, that might not have been
the first thing that popped into your head was social worker. Maybe what popped into your head was something a little more like this (Laughter) peering suspiciously
at your parenting skills. (Laughter) Or, if not, maybe like this: Peace and love and singing Kum By YaH. Well, I’m here to tell you social workers
are neither of those things. My goal when you leave today is
that the image you conjure when you hear social worker
looks a little more like this. (Laughter) Social worker as super hero. And I want to spend the next couple
of minutes talking to you about that. Social workers are not just
nice people with good hearts, Social workers are educated professionals who go through
accredited university programs that are grounded
in a rigorous research base. And what they learn there is part
of what makes them a super hero. The two biggest things? They learn their mission, and they learn
how to make change happen. The mission of social work
is to promote and support individual and community well-being, and to fight social injustice. Social workers do that because we learn how to see and understand
the invisible inner connections between people, and their families,
and their neighborhood, and their community, and society,
and laws, and policies. And we know that when those connections
tangle or break at any of those levels, problems happen. So we learn evidence-based interventions that can help solve the problems
around those tangles and breaks. And with that, we can make
powerful change happen. A second reason I like to think
of social workers as super heroes is because, just like with a super hero, everyone is going to need
a social worker at some point because everybody’s going to face a
big challenge in their life at some point. Maybe the challenge starts early,
and you’re born prematurely. Who helps your new parents
find a specialist? Or figure out how to pay
those huge hospital bills? Or find a car seat for a teeny tiny baby? Hospital social workers. A little later on in life,
you’re in school and maybe you’re being bullied, or you’re thinking about dropping out. Who designs and implements
the anti-bullying and the drop out prevention
programs in schools? School social workers. Later on, as you get older, maybe you face one of those grown-up problems, a divorce, or you lose your job,
and you sink into a depression, maybe you even start drinking too much. Who do you turn to
for counseling and therapy? Licensed, clinical social workers. Did you know that the majority
of mental health services in this country are provided by social workers? It’s nearly 70%. And, then we have
those really tough end-of-life issues: your 86 year old dad
has Parkinson’s disease, but is insistent
that he can live independently. Who helps you figure out
if he really is safe? Or, who helps you find in-home health? Or navigate those really difficult
conversations about wills, and power-of-attorney, and DNR? Geriatric social workers. Then there’s the bigger picture. Who’s running the non profit agency?
Who’s organizing the community? Who’s fighting to make sure the laws
and the policies are just and fair? Those are social work managers,
organizers, and advocates. So at some point, everybody’s
going to need a social worker. The final thing that I like to think about when I think about
social workers as super heroes came to me when my friend Carla
gave me a mug for my birthday that had this saying on it, and at first I thought it was cute: “I’m a social woker
what’s your super power?” But then I realized, that’s exactly
what social workers do. We say, “Hi, I’m a social worker.
What’s your super power?” Social workers believe in strengths
and we help people find their strengths so that they can face the challanges
that they’re wrestling with. My favorite social worker strength story
comes from my friend, Martha, who was a social worker
who lived on the coast and every year, she would take
a social work intern. Well, one year she had a young woman
she assigned him to a client named… I’ll call him Bob. Bob struggled with a severe mental illness and isolated himself in his apartment and all he would do all day,
obsessively, was listen to the radio. So Martha sends the student
to do an assessment, the student comes back. Martha says, “So, what’d you learn?” And the student says, “I learned he is really good
at listening to the radio.” But she had a plan. She went to the local coast guard office
where apparently there is somebody who has to listen
to the short wave radio all day long and write down the announcements
and the news in a log. And she convinced them
to let Bob volunteer. Then she convinced Bob to try it: “Really Bob, they want you
to listen to the radio!” Well he did. And he listened to the radio better than anybody
had ever listened to the radio. They loved him!
They hired him part-time. So then Bob said, “OK,
I have a little bit of money. I’m getting out of the house
a little bit, I’d like to try eating out. I haven’t done that in years,
but I’m scared to do it alone. Would you meet me at the local diner?” So the student says yeah
and the next day she gets there, but she gets there early,
and she sits on the far side of the diner so that when Bob comes in,
she hollers across the diner, “Bob, what did you hear on the radio?” Bob hollers back all the news. (Laughter) They do this a couple times
a week, for several weeks, so every local in the diner knows that if you want to know
what’s going on, you ask Bob. And Martha swears that by the end
it was like that scene in Cheers when Norm walks in, and it was like “Bob!” So Bob has a job, and money,
and friends, and it all happened because the social worker tapped into
his super power of radio listening. My final thought for you today is this: as I’ve said before, everyone,
at some point will need a social worker. When that happens to you, don’t worry,
don’t be embarrassed; go find one. I promise you,
they will be a super hero. And better yet, they will help you
find your super power so that you can work through
whatever life is throwing your way. Thank you very much. (Applause)

100 thoughts on “Social workers as super-heroes | Anna Scheyett | TEDxColumbiaSC

  1. stop dressing it up…most social worker are programmed and payed to pull families appart…there is verry few good social workers..

  2. I am a student social worker and I agree social workers do a lot to help people in difficult circumstances. Social work in general has been given a stereotype that all we do is take children away from family's this is so far from the truth. The definition of social work is work carried out by trained personnel with the aim of alleviating the conditions of those people in a community suffering from social deprivation. There are so many departments in Social work and in each one they make there own change.

  3. These days the only difference between a social worker and the Gestapo, is that the Gestapo wore an armband. Never had experience of these people, but have had friends who have, they are singularly the most disgusting liars, I have ever encountered. I don't know how you are trained, but there is one word social workers don't know the meaning of and that is Truth.

  4. Many people and even my friends sometimes make fun of me studying social work in uni. I think they just don't know about social work well. Actually the society lack a comprehensive understanding about social work.

  5. This is sad to say. But from my personal experiences of getting theory social workers were the worst. I saw two social workers for theory and they were very thoughtless, uncompassionate, disrespectful and high and mighty people. With my situations I needed someone who was gentle and patient and these two jerks were not. All they did was put me down when they disagreed with me and made me feel hopeless. But when I saw a psychologist, he was very encouraging and respectful. He gave me a chance to express myself, whether it was good or bad. They did their best to understand why I would say certain things. Not attack me like the social workers did. So, when it comes to therapy, I am not sure how social workers are trained. But it seems like they are trained to say what ever to their client and not consider how their words can have a negative impact on them. In the end, they are far from heroes in my view.

  6. Love this reminder of SW role in all the various life stages and the emphasis on identifying and using people's own strengths to promote positive change.

  7. I'm russian social worker.
    I'm really interested in finding superpowers of our clients, but now I'm feared by great amount of paperwork. Our government needs good statistic, neither then better life for our clients.
    This is very painful for me.

  8. Some social workers have agendas and are horrible people. I know. A social worker destroyed my family of origin. Remember: you wield incredible power.

  9. Jumping into chaos sounds about right. Being able to think critically, outside the box and very quickly is so important (such as the story you illustrated). This was so cheesy but do I love sappy things. ❤️❤️

  10. Yeah I don’t get this one bit social workers ruined my life. I completely understand that for some people they are amazing just my personal experience they completely changed my life forever and just left us to deal with all the damage

  11. Social workers have no common sense, I've seen them rip kids from loving parents arms simply because mom and dad smoked a little weed. The kids were kicking and screaming which is a clear indication the kid is fine.

  12. perhaps you should focus less on useless childlike PR campaigns like "social workers are superheroes" and more on achieving basic competency on your publicly funded job. for a start, how about actually showing up for the gig, as opposed to calling in sick two days a week and spending half of every year out on medical/stress/personal leave. ever wonder why most social workers have the voice and speaking style of a teenage valley girl/ kindergarten teacher? because that's basically what they are. social services employment is a glorified jobs program, not a real work place. it's the special olympics of employment. but at least you have a real neat mug to display on your desk – actually, maybe you should keep the mug at home where you can enjoy it, rather than someplace you're rarely at – like work.

  13. I think it is important to also note that there are Licensed Professional Counselors, and Marriage and Family therapists who are also trained mental health professionals.

  14. This video really is inspiring. I know I want my career path to be something that affects people's lives positively and this one definitely does that. I hope that through taking the course on Intro to Social Work that it will help me define my career path.

  15. Many negative comments below…but being a social worker is a wonderful profession, each day is fulfilling— we make connections & help anyone whose down. Thanks for this!

  16. Social workers (professional bullies) could better serve their communities by quitting the practice, getting intensive therapy while spending their days volunteering at animal shelters.

  17. I am not satisfy with your speech because ,,,, social worker don't be mean he or she don't be such educated because if he or she is educate he or she can understand the feeling of poor people ,he or she can only understand the feeling of an educated person ,,,,be as the uneducated before then becaues whom you are giving a speech he or she will say you are showing off ,,,,…. I am really a big fan of your but i am not satisfy with your speech …. I am sorry …….

  18. Of course, social work is a great profession. Because, it is backed by research oriented and practical training for more than two years.

    However, the present day question is: do we still retain the dignity and fervor of training the social workers as done in the past?

    In India, we have made two major mistakes:
    1. We attached this impirical education to usual colleges and it became another course ….! Earlier, the schools of social work were standalone institutions with their own distinct image.

    2. In addition, adding fuel to fire, we started correspondence courses, making gullible people to fall a victim to attractions of acquiring degrees….!

    Honestly, what is the quality of students who are supposed to hold the flag high of the profession, when they complete the degree?


  19. She was my Dean at the University of South Carolina School of Social Work!!! This video just inspires me even more of being a PROUD Social Worker!!!!

  20. Who finds a lil tiny baby car seat at at the hospital – social workers 🤣🤣🤣🤣 yr joking right … if u dont have a car seat they yr likely to have an investigation opened on yr family ..FACT..

  21. utter liess. if yr being bullied in school the social worker will send you for an assesment and have you put on anti depresants of adhd medication.

  22. This is hype, like a boxer puffing himself up in front of his opponent. Dr Sheyett describes the ways that social workers think they serve their communities. Blowing your own trumpet does not convince me. Where are the clients who say "These people are my superheroes"?

  23. This is hype, like a boxer puffing himself up in front of his opponent. Dr Sheyett describes the ways that social workers think they serve their communities. Blowing your own trumpet does not convince me. Where are the clients who say "These people are my superheroes"?

  24. I'm a social work student here in the Philippines and I appreciate little by little my course because I can see how important we are in the society in the future. Well honestly I feel like I don't want this course when I was at my first year in college but it all change when I discover that we are super heroes serving people that in needs. 😊😊😊😊😊💖💖💖💖

  25. If SWs wanted to help the community, they would get themselves a real job. Nobody needs a social worker.

  26. When I worked as a social worker, a client's family member once came up to me, and asked me a really important question. She asked me, so who looks after the caretaker? The answer is whatever helping professional role you have chosen to be, ultimately the fact is, you need to look after yourself. If you follow that advise, you will more likely stay sane, and productive, while helping those who need your assistance.

  27. Awesome video! Social workers also work from home.I just posted LCSW/ social work jobs hiring now. My mom is a social worker so of course I think social workers rock!!

  28. So you're a super-heroes if your paycheck comes from the government? That's the only distinguishment between a social worker and anyone else who does the same work.
    Edit: Clarification on what makes a "social worker" was made in the replies below.

  29. Hahaha that was funny a Super Hero..oh did she say evidence based….lol..she killing me…She has something right they are Super Hero's…The Joker…Cruella de Vil…..

  30. My social worker is mean and yells at me and uses guilt on me. I am now after four years with her I am suicidal.

  31. I'm sure overcorupted social workers are probably everywhere. Some are going good and others are bad just like every other professional backgrounds and fields.

  32. Loved this video. My little brother is aspiring to be a social worker and I can totally see him doing what was described in the last story 🙂

  33. Hi mam,
    Your speech is great. I am Thanikachalam from Chennai (Minjur). We need fund for tree plantation in Chennai. Kindly help me. Cell & Whatapps no: 9790754391.

    Thanks & Regards,
    Thanikachalam P

  34. does anyone of you know a famous social service worker.I need to say their speech in class.Its really important .Please reply if u know someone

  35. Amazing topic for nowadays people. Social workers so needed to all kind of people especially who has illnesses and addictions. Tv show star opinion is telling truth and represents strength of social workers.

  36. In our office I work with five of them and they can be quite draining. Exhausting. Emotional vampires.
    I've often thought that some of those who go into this line of work, do so because they don't want to truly address the issues in their own lives.

  37. When the going is tough, and I’m worried about getting my degree and my future in social work, I watch this video to remind myself of why I want to make being a social worker my life.

  38. Bull Shite That's why Trumps taking them down cos they have destroyed families everywhere… They are a money marking owned by banks and corporations owned by Freemasons and Satanic groups ppl better wake the bell up… were liquidating their Banks and corporations out from under them and giving the kids and money back..

  39. Hi I'm was born early and I'm disabled with a lot of cronic illness health. I've had a social worker sense I was a baby.

  40. Social Work is a joke. It's basically a "profession" where those who come from highly dysfunctional backgrounds go to grad school to make others with highly dysfunctional backgrounds to feel terrible about themselves. It's a profession of ego-tripping and opportunity to abuse others. 'Do No Harm' is the social workers motto. They do nothing but harm.

  41. This gives me more motivation to pursue a career in Social Work. This definitely made me tear up! Lol 😅

  42. Hospital social workers are the biggest waste of taxpayer money and time actually social workers as a whole are a huge waste in a huge burden who disrupt families disrupt people's lives and contribute really nothing more then a simplistic mundane thought process, and created problems to justify their ridiculous existence

  43. Social Work is not my dream and here I am straggling in this course, but somehow there is inside of me who still wants to stay in this field. Now, im watching this in the middle of the night even though I have exams tomorrow and I don't feel motivated to study even though my scholarship is in the hands of my major grade. I hope i will be able to pass my exams and get atleast an passing scores. God bless to me.

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