I love the message in this photo put out by Social Work Tutor. But let's be clear, the flaw is often in the system design, not in the efficiency of the hard-working and dedicated social workers. This picture is a great way to point out that our formal public-sector support systems are not about the clients, they are system-centric. They are designed around administrative priorities, bureaucracy, money, staff and management convenience or preferences...everything but the clients' needs. People become social workers to help improve others' lives. Simple. But the systems within which they work actually inhibit such a client-centered approach.
This is exactly the reason I wrote my book, "It's Not About Us; The Secret to Transforming the Mental Health and Addiction System in Canada". I believed it was time to start challenging that same flaw in mental health and addictions, and describe how to transform it to be client-centered in terms of system design. While the book is written for mental health and addictions, the concepts and methods will apply across all public-sector health and social services. It is written explicitly to empower clients and advocates with information, and specific suggested actions, which will make them more effective at advocating for the exact change that this beautifully sarcastic picture above implies. If you want to join the movement to bring about this change, check out the book at www.leader-development.ca .
Todd Leader, RSW, RPsych