Public Education campaign

Introducing: The AASW's 'We're here for you - Don't wait' Campaign

The AASW has a new campaign aimed at raising the profile of social work, advocating on behalf of social workers, busting myths about the profession, and increasing public awareness of the invaluable contributions social workers make to our communities.

Social work is a profession deeply committed to pursuing social justice, enhancing quality of life, and fostering the full potential of individuals, groups, and communities. Social workers are dedicated to addressing societal barriers, inequalities, and injustices while providing support during personal crises. The true value of social work often goes unrecognised, overshadowed by negative media coverage of isolated incidents.

Social workers should be recognised for their expertise, extensive knowledge, and holistic approach to community, family, and individual support. Through this campaign, the AASW hopes to increase the visibility of social workers and promote easier access and referrals to you.

Meet our Featured Social Workers

Nathan Ryan
Social Worker, Aboriginal Mental Health Officer

“Social work isn’t just a job; it’s the opportunity to make a tangible difference in people’s lives, and that’s what truly drives me.”

Nathan is a dedicated mental health worker currently employed full-time at the NSW Aboriginal Legal Service. Nathan has been instrumental in providing mental health support and advocating for the wellbeing of the Aboriginal community in inner Sydney.

Nathan’s educational background is deeply rooted in social work and mental health. He holds a master’s degree in social work from Charles Sturt University, completed in November 2022. His work at the NSW Aboriginal Legal Service is part of a long-standing tradition of community-led initiatives. This heritage of self-determination and community control continues to inspire Nathan’s work.

Currently, Nathan is engaged in a project that examines the interaction between social workers and legal services. This project aims to enhance outcomes for the community by fostering better collaboration and understanding between these critical sectors.

John Hristoforidis
Accredited Mental Health Social Worker

“Every individual deserves access to mental health support. If you’re contemplating counselling or therapy, take that step today.”

With over a decade of clinical experience and 15 years extending to welfare and community work, John is an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker who specialises in a range of psychological therapies for adolescents, adults, individuals and families.

John provides an authentic and unique service that is holistic, compassionate and trauma informed.

Dr Meaghan Katrak Harris
Social Work Academic and Writer

“Whether it’s counselling, advocacy, therapy, or just being there for support, know that we’re here to support the community every step of the way.”

Meaghan is a social worker, academic, consultant and writer. She has a long and diverse professional background and works across the private and public sectors and the arts. Meaghan’s first work of creative non-fiction, Memories and Elephants: The Art of Casual Racism was released in December 2021, receiving excellent reviews.

Grace Leotta
Social Worker, Development and Training Consultant

“Being a part of AASW has provided me with a supportive community where I can share experiences and gain valuable insights.”

Grace is an organisational, community development and training consultant. She develops and facilitates training programs; facilitates change management and organisational/service development, community engagement and planning processes; and conducts reviews, evaluations and research.

Grace is Harvard University trained, an internationally certified facilitator and public participation practitioner and an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker. She has a background in service management, community development, family work and staff training. Grace has also taught community consultation, community management and social science at the tertiary level.

Objectives

  • Increase awareness of the expertise of social workers
  • Encourage individuals seeking support to consider social workers, who may work under various professional titles
  • Highlight the easy way GPs and compensable scheme administrators can use the Find a Social Worker directory for referrals
  • Highlight the diverse roles and fields social workers operate in

Messages

Our goal is to change the public perception of social work and highlight the skills and expertise social workers bring to various fields. We will showcase the broad scope of social work and emphasise that social workers often operate under different titles.
 
  • The campaign emphasises the significance of social work in improving people’s lives, and highlights the value and importance of social work and mental health support.
  • We aim to tell the story that social workers provide comprehensive support to Australians and how the public and referrers can access these services directly through the Find a Social Worker directory.
  • We’re also highlighting the community offered by the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW). 

The Find a Social Worker online directory

The Find a Social Worker online directory is a user-friendly tool designed to simplify locating and accessing social work services in Australia.

This directory features AASW members who have chosen to make their contact information public. (It is important to note that this is not an exhaustive list of all AASW members.)

How does it work?

The public and health service providers, such as GPs, and administrators for Workcover and other compensable schemes, can use the directory to search for social workers by name, location, or services offered.

An example:
You could be a fresh face in the world of social work, finding a directory of social worker supervisors online could be the key to kickstarting your career. With the directory at your fingertips, you can easily locate supervisors and mentors to guide you.

To list yourself on the directory, head to MyAASW and log in.

When and where will this campaign be seen?

You’ll see it on AASW’s social media, website, in emails and in Social Work Focus magazine, and on websites and on Facebook and LinkedIn. The AASW will also generate awareness of the campaign by speaking to the media.

How can you get involved?

We need your support to amplify the campaign’s reach!

You are welcome to share the videos on your social media platforms and website, or download the social media tile or poster. Please use #AASW, #swdontwait and #findasocialworker tags when posting on social media.

  • Videos to use on your own website
  • A banner to use in your email or website
  • A poster to print or use on your website
  • Social media post to amplify the importance of social work.

 

Your participation is vital in raising the profile of the work that social workers do, and engaging a broader audience. Together, we can make a significant difference and drive meaningful change.

Myth Busters

This campaign highlights that social workers play a crucial and diverse role in our communities. It will address many misconceptions about the profession. Let’s clear up some of the most common myths:

Reality: Social workers are found in various settings beyond government agencies. They are integral to schools, hospitals, non-profits, private practices, and corporations. Social workers make a difference wherever there’s a need for advocacy, support, or counselling.

Reality: Child welfare is a significant aspect of social work, but it’s only one part of a broad spectrum. Social workers also specialise in areas like healthcare, mental health, addiction recovery, aging services, community organising, and more. Their expertise supports people of all ages through various challenges.

Reality: Social workers provide valuable services to individuals and families across all socioeconomic backgrounds. Whether addressing personal crises, navigating life changes, or providing therapy and support, their goal is to enhance everyone’s well-being and quality of life, regardless of financial status.

Reality: Social workers are key players in the mental health field. Many are Accredited Mental Health Social Workers who offer therapy, counselling, and support for mental health issues. They work alongside other mental health professionals to provide holistic care and are often on the front lines of mental health intervention and advocacy.

Reality: General Practitioners (GPs) can and should refer patients to Accredited Mental Health Social Workers (AMHSWs). 

AMHSWs are highly trained professionals who meet rigorous standards of professional regulation in Australia. They are designated allied health professionals under the Commonwealth Medicare initiative, authorised to offer private mental health services to individuals with diagnosable mental health conditions or those at risk of developing such conditions. Read more

Check out our webpages for the public here: