Social Work and HS
“As practitioners, social workers are trained to help people address personal and systemic barriers to optimal living.”National Association of Social Work | socialworker.org
March is social work month!
I use my background in social work a lot when advocating for chronic illness awareness. It may not be obvious, but social work comes into play quite a bit when I am writing and creating my posts.
Social workers value 6 things:
- Social justice
- Dignity and worth of the person
- Importance of human relationships
I use all of these values when cultivating KSandHS. Here are some examples of how I uphold these values in my advocacy:
To value social justice means that social workers challenge injustice when we see it. In the chronic illness world, this can be as small as challenging myths and misinformation when I hear them. It also can be as broad as advocating for and bringing awareness to inequity andl injustice in health care!
Social workers value service by helping people and addressing social problems. I volunteer my time on this blog and Instagram because it helps me but also because it helps others! Serving others by raising awareness about HS is an important use of my time and a vital way to address social problems.
Often, the dignity and worth of the person is not upheld in health care which is an example of one way we face injustice as people with chronic illness. As a social worker, I want others to be treated with dignity and worth that inherently comes to use as humans. I hope to be able to advocate for that on KSandHS by sharing how I advocate for myself and raising awareness of our rights and resources.
We also have standards which shape the way we act within this profession. For instance, as a social worker, I have an ethical responsibility to broader society, to advocate for the general social welfare and to engage in social and political action that seeks to ensure that all people have equal access to the resources and opportunities required to meet our basic human needs. Replace “basic human needs” with “health care and HS treatment” and you can see how I use social work to advocate for Hidradenitis Suppurativa awareness and the broader problems in public health.
Social workers also practice with cultural awareness and value social diversity. THis is an area in which I could improve KSandHS. I try to acknowledge the different challenges that different cultures and groups may face while managing chronic illness but I hope that I can learn more about this as I grow KSandHS. This is why I firmly stand with Black Lives Matter, women’s rights, the LGBTQ community, diversity within the disabled community, and other groups of cultural diversity and inclusion.
I do not practice social work in a typical way but the values and standards frame the way I approach most projects. In my Instagram, I strive to share important and accurate research in an accessible way. Holding myself to social work standards means that I disclose any conflict of interest and represent myself in the boundaries of my education and training. This is why I often clarify that I am NOT a medical professional and any decisions about your healthcare would be made in partnership with your healthcare team. I make sure to cite what I share for clarity and accountability and to ensure I present evidence-based information and best practices.
I want to use my privilege and experience to advocate for others, spend my time serving others and advocating for social justice through this platform. The feeling I get when people tell me that my experience helps them is indescribable. It is truly an honor.
To be a social worker means to have integrity and work in a trustworthy manner. By using these practices, my intention is that people can trust the information I share and that I add ethical and beneficial information to the public discourse of HS on Instagram and on my blog.