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FOR RELEASE: March 3, 2005
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Health Officials Celebrate National Social Work Month
During March 2005

The Oklahoma State Department of Health and National Association of Social Workers announce the kickoff of March as National Social Work Month. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Social Workers: Help Starts Here.” The multi-year public education campaign will reinforce that social workers can connect people to a variety of resources in their community to help them improve the options for themselves and their families.

There are approximately 600,000 social workers in the United States, of which about 1,400 are licensed to work in Oklahoma. They are dedicated to helping people of all ages, religions, sexual orientations, and nationalities gain access to adequate resources and services. At the Oklahoma State Department of Health, social workers help people overcome some of life’s most difficult challenges: poverty, discrimination, abuse, addiction, physical illness, divorce, loss, unemployment, educational problems, disability, and mental illness. They help prevent crises and counsel individuals, families, and communities to cope more effectively with the stresses of everyday life.

“Many people don’t realize that social workers are employed at hospitals, schools, community health clinics, and even corporations. Most of the country’s mental health services are provided by social workers,” said James Marks, MSW, public health social work coordinator.

“Social workers stand up for others to see that they are informed about the same basic rights, protections and opportunities that others receive. Social workers are there to make sure that happens,” Marks said.

For more information about the types of work that public health social workers perform in your community, contact James Marks at (405) 271-4480, or via e-mail at JamesMM@health.ok.gov , or visit the Oklahoma State Department of Health Web site at: http://www.health.ok.gov.

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