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Thanks for listening Costco!

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

A social worker was concerned about how the social work profession was defined in Costco‘s Fall 2013 “Healthy Living with Diabetes” newsletter, which is distributed by the giant wholesaler’s pharmacy.

They sent us an article about choosing a mental health professional in the newsletter  that defined the social work profession in this way:

“Social workers talk with people and their families about their emotional or physical needs and help find financial and other support services.” contacted the newsletter’s publisher and Costco’s public relations to ask them to change that definition, which does not adequately address the important role of social workers in mental healthcare.

We let them know social workers are some of the primary providers of mental healthcare in the United States. In fact, there are more than 125,000 social workers employed in the mental health and substance abuse field, according to 2010 Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

Licensed clinical social workers can diagnose mental, emotional, behavioral, development and addictive disorders and develop mental health treatment plans.

Officials at the diabetes publication said they cannot change the paper version of the newsletter that has already been disseminated. They also said the American Diabetes Association also defines social work in that way.

However, they promised to put a link to the National Association of Social Workers’ “Help Starts Here” consumer website in the online version of the publication. HelpStartsHere outlines the many kinds of services social workers provide, including mental healthcare.

Thanks Costco for your response!



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