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Associate feature: Why social work is integral to good health

Kathryn Lindsay - Image credit: Social Work Scotland

Associate feature: Why social work is integral to good health

If we stop to properly think about ‘health’, we quickly realise it’s about a lot more than the absence of disease or physical pain.

Our lifestyle, environment and relationships – our context – are as important to us being in ‘good health’ as doctors and medicine.

It’s with this context that social work concerns itself.

Social work is designed to empower people towards better health, supporting them, their families and communities to overcome barriers, and move away from past choices or towards new behaviours.

It’s a profession focused on including those who are often forced onto the margins of society.

The skill of creating and sustaining a working relationship alongside someone in the shifting, dynamic space of their daily life is highly complex work.

It’s through the relationships which we build, and the support we provide, that change is fostered.

In an increasingly integrated landscape, social work has the potential to be the glue which holds the pieces of our wider public sector together, enabling people to have the seamless, self-directed support they now rightly expect.

Social workers are the people in the spaces in between the parts: between hospital or school and home, between prison and community. And we have the skills to turn prescriptions into action, managing and holding risk through periods of change.

As our understanding of the components of health grows, the value of professions which can interact with them should grow too.  

At Social Work Scotland it’s our mission to make the value of the profession clear. To help explain why it’s integral to building a healthier, more inclusive society.

We want to ensure that social worker’s unique perspective and insight is heard and understood, and through our membership we’re proud to be informing the development and implementation of policy.

We support high-quality and effective leadership within the profession, and champion the use of research and evidence.

We’re always looking for new opportunities and are keen to build partnerships with all who share our values.

To find out more visit

Kathryn Lindsay is the president of Social Work Scotland


Society & Welfare

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