As Mental Health Awareness Month Concludes: Never Forget Social Workers!

May (Mental Health Awareness Month) is nearly over, but the impact of social workers will never be forgotten.


Rebecca Lee, News Anchor (2023-24)

As Mental Health Awareness Month ends after May 31, it is important to never forget the impact of social workers, counselors, therapists, and much more! Counseling is an impactful field that provides great help to those suffering from mental health struggles. Especially as mental health started to become a greater concern for people of all ages, clinical social workers and behavioral health counselors work hard on a daily basis to ensure that individuals are as mentally and physically healthy as possible. One of these impactful heroes is Maria Dykema from St. Vincent Health.


When asked what inspired her to join the field of social work, Dykema discussed her love for teaching and building relationships with the people around her.


“Being a teacher, interacting with students and families, people gave me their feedback that I was a good listener.” Dykema replied. “I enjoyed that personal connection and building relationships with people.”


To get into this impactful field, there are understandably important educational requirements to fulfill, including a master’s degree at minimum and a PhD if desired too. Dykema suggested that one could potentially consider becoming a social worker if they are “someone who is generally kind and patient, can listen, communicate, problem-solve…or be willing to grow in those areas.”


Dykema also explained that it is crucial to have the proper mindset and an “attitude of being open to learn, grow yourself and take care of yourself.”


All of this adds up to impact. The true difference that social workers make on the lives of so many people every single day will never go away. Dykema emphasized the importance of both seeking help and carrying out the duties of a social worker well because one can “help people be able to avoid being in a crisis situation because people have an opportunity to address their concerns [and] work through their problems before they grow too big.”


During this process of creating a positive impact on people’s lives, Dykema also discussed that it isn’t only the client that social workers can help. The impact can become much greater without even realizing.


“One thing that people may not realize is that as we help someone get healthier and work through problems, it has a positive ripple effect.” Dykema said. “There are family relationships [and] friendships, so I think that is an invisible positive outcome that I am very grateful to hear feedback about from the clients that I work with.”


Past, present, and future, it is clear that social workers are and will continue to be the backbone to a mentally and physically healthy society. Social workers are always there to provide the help and proper counseling for anyone who needs it. They most definitely recognize the importance of seeking counseling, and social workers like Maria Dykema continue to help people through their highest and lowest points every single day.