Published On: May 15th, 2022|401 words|1.4 min read|
Dr. Tina Atherall is CEO of PsychArmor
I’m a social worker by trade and by heart, and nowhere is that a bigger deal – or a better fit — than in the Veteran ecosystem. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) employs the largest number of master’s level social workers in the United States.
But, it goes beyond employment.
VA also has a significant influence on social work as a profession. A master’s degree in social work typically requires at least 900 hours of field work, and many of us in the field practiced and honed our skills at VA hospitals and facilities. This exposure makes social workers uniquely qualified to support Veterans through Veteran and military service organizations.
Why do systems supporting Veterans need social workers? Social work considers all influencing factors — impacts to the individual and entire community at large, along with the broader implications of social welfare and social justice. Veterans with complicated diagnoses require more than treatment options, such as examining the system affecting the individual. This makes social work vital to Veterans as we explore conversations in more depth using a multi-dimensional approach with creative solutions.
The profession extends well beyond analysis, particularly as social workers provide passion and ethics in a supportive environment, understanding Veteran needs from a values-based perspective and formulating solutions using a collaborative approach.
Social work demands understanding culture. This directly aligns with PsychArmor’s work and training, which emphasize military cultural awareness. In recent conversations with the International Military Social Work Consortium, PsychArmor aims to serve as the consortium’s education and training partner, aligning our missions to advance military social work globally.
Thank you to the social workers serving our Veterans daily — through VA and the military and Veteran Service Organizations across the Nation. I am one of you. I honor you and am grateful for the opportunity to celebrate our influence.
Dr. Tina Atherall is CEO of PsychArmor, the premier learning community for military cultural awareness. She earned her Doctorate of Social Work from the University of Southern California Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work and currently teaches in three collegiate social work programs, including Columbia University School of Social Work. Dr. Atherall’s work also includes support to The Council on Social Work Education’s military social work competency guide.
The sharing of any non-VA information does not constitute an endorsement of products and services on the part of VA. Verify information with the organization offering.