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Arkansas State University

Providing Mental Health Services as a Social Worker

The mental health crisis in the United States has become a significant challenge affecting individuals nationwide. Social workers with the necessary knowledge and skills are essential in addressing these issues and providing much-needed support.

The online Master of Social Work (MSW) – Advanced Standing program from Arkansas State University (A-State) allows students to expand their expertise and prepare for the Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) or the Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW) exam. This online degree empowers degree candidates to build an ethical and compassionate clinical practice that can enhance the quality of life for families, individuals, communities and groups.

The Important Role Social Workers Play in Communities

Among the various coursework available at A-State, the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) course stands out for its effectiveness in preparing social workers to be part of the solution on the front lines of the mental health crisis.

CBT is a key evidence-based approach in mental health. Social workers who undergo training in CBT gain valuable insights and skills to support individuals experiencing mental health issues. CBT provides social workers with techniques to identify negative patterns of thinking and behavior and to assist people with replacing the patterns with healthier and more adaptive thoughts and actions.

By understanding the underlying cognitive processes contributing to mental health concerns, social workers are better prepared to provide effective intervention and support. CBT coursework provides social workers with essential tools for problem-solving, goal-setting and behavioral modification. It enables them to identify and challenge distorted thinking patterns often contributing to mental health problems such as anxiety, substance abuse and depression.

Improving Mental Healthcare Access

Some challenges to offering sufficient mental healthcare across the country include limited access, high costs, a shortage of mental health professionals and an uncoordinated system of practitioner availability. According to the RAND Corporation, some ways to ensure that more people have access to mental healthcare include the following:

  • Identify individual needs and get people treatment. By promoting mental health education, schools can destigmatize mental health treatment and improve public perception of care. Integrating mental healthcare into primary care settings aims to bridge the gap between mental and physical health services. This approach recognizes that mental health is interconnected with overall well-being and highlights the importance of holistic care.
  • Make mental healthcare more accessible. Ensuring individuals have access to mental healthcare means that certain populations, such as low-income individuals, ethnic or racial minorities and marginalized communities, face additional barriers to accessing mental healthcare. By improving access, we can reduce health disparities and ensure mental health services are available and accessible to all, regardless of socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity or background.
  • Establish continuity of care. The healthcare system has a fundamental duty to provide comprehensive and equitable care to all individuals, including addressing mental health needs alongside physical health needs. Mental health is an integral component of overall well-being and neglecting mental health can lead to adverse consequences for patients.

Integrated Care Systems (ICS) enhance access to mental health services. ICS is a collaborative approach that brings together various healthcare providers, including mental health professionals, primary care physicians and social workers, to deliver coordinated care. By breaking down the barriers between different healthcare disciplines, ICS seeks to provide comprehensive care to individuals, with mental health services being an integral part of the overall healthcare system.

About A-State’s Online MSW – Advanced Standing Program

The engaged faculty at A-State will guide students to become sensitive and ethical responders to dilemmas and issues and offer support in developing a practice that uplifts the oppressed and vulnerable. Graduates of A-State’s online MSW – Advanced Standing program will be ready to provide the comprehensive and unique mental health services patients require.

Learn more about Arkansas State University’s online MSW – Advanced Standing program.

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