I've spent over a decade working in the mental health field. The last 7 1/2 years I've worked as a community mental health worker/therapist in Buncombe Co, NC. Everyone always says, "That must be a very rewarding job." I'm always polite and answer, "Yes, it is." But it is also a very thankless job with long hours, often low pay, emotionally exhausting work where sometimes even those who are benefiting from your work aren't thankful or perhaps didn't want you there in the first place. It's even harder when the resources you need to do your job are constantly changing or being impacted by political decisions at the local, state and federal level. It is a stressful job that requires a lot of self care and a supportive community around you. So when we at Power Flower Project were asked to participate in Social Worker Appreciation Month we didn't hesitate to join in.
We gathered just over a hundred flowers and handed them out to the members of the Child Protective Services division of Buncombe Co Health and Human Services. Each flower had a note of encouragement and thanks for the difficult work that they do. Truth is, we didn't see many DSS workers that day. This is only a little surprising if you know their job. They are constantly out in the community meeting with families, investigating allegations, in court hearings and meetings with teams of people trying to make sure children are safe in their homes. The lack of Social Workers present was not an obstacle for us, we luckily had access to their cubicles. So we left flowers right at their computers where they would have to stop, at least for a second, and take in something encouraging and beautiful before delving back into the painful, hopeful, thankless, rewarding work that they do. Thank you, Social Workers.