Mental Health and Clinical Social Work
Clinical social workers are the nation’s largest providers of mental health and therapy services, outnumbering both psychologists and psychiatrists. They provide mental health services in both urban and rural settings, where they may be the only licensed provider of mental health services available.
Mental disorders are one of the leading causes of disability for people age five and older, with major depression the leading cause of disability in the United States. Manic-depressive illness, schizophrenia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder also rank at the top of the list. Mental disorders are tragic contributors to mortality, with suicide one of the leading preventable causes of death in the United States and worldwide.
Some social workers are in mental health supervisory and managerial positions. The majority, however provide direct services to individuals, families, and groups. Many clinical social workers practice in either solo or group private practice, providing therapy for individuals and families dealing with relationship issues, depression, anxiety disorders, antisocial behavior, and personality disorders. Focusing on the person in his or her environment is central to clinical social work practice. Services include assessment, diagnosis, treatment, client-centered advocacy, consultation and evaluation.
• Community mental health centers
• Private practice
• Psychiatric hospitals
• Residential treatment centers
• Partial (day treatment) hospitals
• Managed mental health programs
• Employee assistance programs
• Schools and universities
• Family service centers
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