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  • Social Workers Are Essential

    Social Workers Month

    March is Social Work Month — a time to celebrate the great profession of social work. The theme for Social Work Month 2021 is Social Workers Are Essential.

    Social workers are essential to the well-being of our community. They are trained to help people address personal and systemic barriers to optimal living. They are employed to effect positive change with individuals, families, groups and entire communities.

    At PPI, our Social Services Department includes different disciplines: nurses, LPCs, recreation and expressive therapists and social workers. Not all our Social Services staff are social workers, but their jobs involve helping our patients beyond their time with PPI. Essentially, the role of our Social Services Department is acknowledging the needs our patients have and empowering them to succeed based on their strengths. They acknowledge everyone’s ability to recover as an individual.

    The staff in our social work department provide clinical work for our patients such as:

    • • Group and Individual therapy and family counseling
    • • Discharge planning, assessing admission needs and how to meet needs.
    • • Long term patient success planning
      • ◦ Going above and beyond the traditional psychotherapy, we have certified art, music and movement therapists who provide programs to help patients on another level.
    • • Recreational and expressive therapy
      • ◦ A psychological disorder characterized by an appetite for substances that are largely non-nutritive.

    “A large aspect of social work is being the voice for the patient. We are empowering them to speak up for their needs. We work with them to reach short goals and identify long-term goals for their personal recovery.” Explains Emily Vazquez, LSW, the new Care Coordination Supervisor in the Social Services Department.

    Emily began her career at PPI in 2012 as a care coordinator and worked her way up to her current supervisor role. Previously performing assessments and discharge planning/ connecting with community services, her new role now includes managing the department’s three parts: care coordination, therapy and certified peer specialists. 

    Her previous counterpart, Karen Sandnes, LCSW, is retiring after serving PPI and our local community since the inception of PPI in 2008. “The personality and the roles we each play in the Social Services Department was shaped by Karen’s work” acknowledged Emily. “For example, she had a vision for creating a role for peer specialists, who have gone through our programs and can relate to our current patients. She started numerous programs and landed grants to help our department succeed.”

    PPI is indebted to Karen and all she has done not only for our institute, but for our patients and our community during her time with us over the past thirteen years. We wish her the best in her retirement and will miss her dearly! 

    During Social Work Month take time to learn more about the many positive contributions of the profession and celebrate all the social workers you know. PPI is grateful for our social workers and all our hardworking employees in our Social Services Department! 

    If you would like to speak to someone about better managing your stress and anxiety, or to make an appointment, please call (717) 782-6493 for more information.


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