Fox News columnist downplays social work role in mental healthcare after shootings
Jeers to Fox News’ Dr. Keith Ablow for a column that downplays the role of social workers in providing mental healthcare in the United States.
Ablow, a psychiatrist and member of the Fox News Medical A-Team, said the nation must improve its mental healthcare system in the aftermath of recent mass shootings in Newtown, Conn., Aurora, Colo. and other places.
However, Ablow said psychiatrists — not social workers, psychologists, and counselors — should be in the center of U.S. mental healthcare.
“Social workers, psychologists, nurses and non-psychiatry physicians can each have an extremely important role to play in rendering care to psychiatric patients, but they should not be the orchestrators of such care,” Ablow said.
He blamed the insurance industry for setting pay scales so low that social workers and other professions are trying to “act like psychiatrists” and psychologists are clamoring to write prescriptions like psychiatrists in order to earn more money.
Social workers are concerned Ablow’s comments unfairly depict the vital role social workers play in mental healthcare.
For instance, Consumer Reports magazine did a study in the last three years on the efficacy of talk therapy services that found social workers scored equally as well as psychiatrists and psychologists when it came to customer satisfaction.
The Department of Health and Human Services and its Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) also recognize social work as a core mental health provider discipline. In fact, social worker Paolo del Vecchio, MSW, is the director of the SAMHSA Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS)
And at a time when tragic shootings have underscored the need for more mental health services in the United States, why should the leadership be limited to one mental health profession — psychiatry?
SocialWorkersSpeak.org urges readers to respond to Ablow’s comments. He can be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can leave a general comment about his column on the Fox News website. The National Association of Social Workers also released this statement on the Newtown tragedy. And to learn more about the role of social workers in mental healthcare visit the NASW’s “Help Starts Here” Mind and Spirit website.| Leave A Comment