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World Social Work Day: The important impact social workers make in mental healthcare

At Burrell, “social workers” typically work as Community and School-Based Support Specialists who work with youth, adults and families ensure clients have wrap-around treatment services.

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At Burrell Behavioral Health, many providers fall under the umbrella of “social worker.” Jessica Obuchowski, System Director of Community Services, says all of those in her department have either completed their education and training in social work or social work-related fields or have experience in social work-related positions. At Burrell, “social workers” typically work as Community and School-Based Support Specialists who work with youth, adults and families by helping them learn skills to manage their emotions and behaviors in a variety of settings.

These professionals also help bridge the gaps in care and ensure clients have wrap-around treatment services to support their overall well-being, by coordinating medical care, mental health and social services. They offer a variety of services including the following:

  • Parent-child relationship skills training;
  • Family conflict resolution;
  • Anger management;
  • Stress management;
  • Communication skills training;
  • Socialization skill building;
  • Managing medical appointments and treatments;
  • Health education to help individuals understand;
  • Manage and prevent health conditions;
  • Managing nutrition;
  • Sleep and physical activity to help improve overall mood and functioning;
  • Accessing and coordinating other needed services (i.e., therapy, medication management, primary care provider);
  • Managing medications;
  • Consultation with schools;
  • Coordinate with other agencies providing services.

Amy Hill, Vice President of Burrell’s School-Based Services, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Social Work. She says the social work profession is vast and full of opportunity for those who choose to enter it, as they can be found in hospitals, schools, behavioral health clinics, social service agencies, community action agencies and so on.

Hill says social workers often work with individuals and their families, but can also play a role in advocacy and policy at the state and national levels.

In her department, Hill says, individuals with Bachelors of Social Work (BSW) can work as support specialists, while those who are Licensed Master Social Workers (LMSW) and Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW) can provide services as school-based clinicians. Licensed social workers have advancement opportunities in leadership positions. Recently Burrell has entered in to Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) agreements with the schools of social work at both the University of Missouri and Missouri State University to care more professional development opportunities for team members. Through TAP, Burrell aims to invest in and grow the future of its provider workforce from within. Burrell partners with higher education to help pay for $10,000 of college tuition for employees who are continuing their education. Obuchowski says these benefits provide access to growth that providers may not otherwise have in their career, which allows for increased their skillsets and earning potential. In turn, that creates more access to care for those in need of services and support.

Hill says LCSWs are crucial to workforce development at Burrell and the care the organization provides its clients. According to Hill, there is a shortage of clinical providers in the mental healthcare landscape and therefore, LCSWs are highly sought after for their expertise in direct care work as well as their ability to provide certain services that some other professions cannot.

“I am incredibly proud to be a social worker,” Hill says. “I also provide clinical supervision for LMSWs at Burrell and I am always excited to add additional social workers to our team in all capacities.”

As stigma surrounding seeking help for mental health has been reduced, and concern over the pandemic and other global factors has increased, so have symptoms of anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. Obuchowski says social workers are necessary to care for those in need of support.

“The demand for mental healthcare is at an all-time high,” Obuchowski said. “We need an army of helpers to provide responsive care.”

Burrell is looking for compassionate and committed providers to join its team. To apply to work in any of our regions across Missouri and Northwest Arkansas, click here.


24-Hour Crisis Line

If you or a loved one is experiencing a mental health or substance-use crisis, please call our toll-free 24-hour telephone line. Our team can help provide immediate assistance.

Southwest Missouri: 1-800-494-7355

Central Missouri: 1-800-395-2132

National Help Line: Call or Text 988