Social Work Month: Survey Results Raise Significant Concerns About Impact of Workloads, Stress, and Strain on NAPE Social Work Members

For Immediate Release:

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

ST. JOHN’S, NL – March is National Social Work Month – a special time to recognize the demanding and essential work that social workers perform every day in communities across our province. It is also a time to reflect and take action to improve the working conditions and lives of those who give so much of themselves to this incredibly demanding and vital work.

NAPE proudly represents over 500 social workers who, through the training and vital services they deliver, contribute to a better life for some of our province’s most vulnerable individuals.

“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,” said Earle. “Despite these obstacles, these workers continue to deliver the highest level of care, compassion, and support to their clients and their communities.”

In a recent survey* of Social Workers:

  • 73% said that their workloads have increased by ‘a lot’ in the past five years.
  • 71% said they find their jobs extremely (32%) or very stressful (39%)
  • 77% said they do site or home visits alone
  • 66% disagreed that their jobs allowed them to have good work/life balance
  • 67% experienced or witnessed violence in the job in the past year alone (2/3 of those were the victims of that violence)
  • 55% said they were concerned about their safety at work
  • 79% said that their concerns were not being heard or addressed by their employer
  • 66% reported their work environment as being toxic
  • 79% said that the overall situation for social workers is getting much worse (34%) or getting worse (45%) in recent years

*NOTE: The anonymous survey was conducted online during January of 2020. There were 347 respondents.

“Social workers across this province are struggling to deal with unbearable workloads, massive stress, and toxic workplace environments,” said Earle. “The survey results quantify what we have been hearing from Social Workers. It is truly alarming.”

“Action must be taken by the government to address the concerns of these workers immediately,” said Earle. “Anything short of concrete action is a disservice to these hard-working and dedicated workers, the people and communities they serve, and the province as a whole.”

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