NAPE Celebrates National Social Work Month:
Voices Concerns About Impact of Workloads, Stress, and Strain on Social Work Members

For Immediate Release:
Monday, March 4, 2019

ST. JOHN’S, NL – March is National Social Work Month – a special time to recognize the demanding and important work that social workers perform every day in communities across our province.

NAPE proudly represents over 600 social workers who, through the training and crucial services they deliver, contribute to a better life for some of our province’s most vulnerable individuals.

The theme of Social Work Month 2019 is: Real People. Real Impact.

“This theme is an important one to remember; every social worker is a real person who is doing their utmost to have a real impact on others’ lives,” said NAPE President Jerry Earle. “Social workers give so much of themselves in the face of overwhelming workloads, threats of violence, expanded responsibilities, and the stress and strain from the emotional and physical toll that their work has on them.”

“Despite these obstacles, social workers continue to provide quality care and support for our province’s most vulnerable because they want to make a difference; they want to change people’s lives and make our communities, our province, and our world a little better every day,” said Earle.

In a recent survey of NAPE members:

• 40% of Social Workers indicated that they find their work to be very or extremely stressful.
• 22% indicated that they often do not feel safe at work.
• 35% said that they had experienced/witnessed a violent incident, assault and/ or threatening behaviour at work in the past 6 months.
• 85% indicated that their workload has increased a little or a lot in the past five (5) years. Fully 60% said that their workload increased a lot during that timeframe.

“We have real concerns about the impact that the workloads, stress, and strain of their jobs is having on our members,” said Earle. “We have heard from a large number of social workers who are really struggling. We have reached out to Department of Children, Seniors and Social Development Minister Lisa Demptser on this concern. To her credit, the Minister met with us in short order and has been working with us to address concerns and try to find ways to improve working conditions for social workers. We continue to work through this process and are hopeful it will lead to improved outcomes for our members.”

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