Celebrating social workers this September


18 September 2020


Advocacy, support and removing barriers to wellbeing – all in a day’s work for social workers in the Whanganui-Rangitīkei-Waimarino region.


Aotearoa NZ Social Workers’ Day is Wednesday 23 September and Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) is celebrating the mahi of local social workers.


Suzanne Cocker is WDHB’s clinical manager of social work and says social work is an incredible opportunity to advocate, promote, remove barriers and rally resources to support people to reach their goals.


“Social workers have the ability to conduct complex assessments, support people to adapt to major life events, and push back on discriminatory practices and systems that impact on people’s wellbeing,” Ms Cocker says.


“We can cover issues ranging from physical health, mental health, public health, child protection, family violence, alcohol and other drugs, paediatrics, maternity, rangatahi, adults, older persons - literally any age group or life issue can fall into our mahi.”


For Ms Cocker, the job is as much a personal journey as a professional one.


“For me, social work is an extension of my values, my beliefs and my personality. It is a joy to be in a profession that is also my vocation.”


WDHB employs 34 social workers, and altogether there are more than 115 social workers across the Whanganui region.


WDHB will be marking Aotearoa NZ Social Workers’ Day with a series of profiles on social workers as well as a staff lunch, while local agencies will also be marking the day in various ways.