Social Work Practice for Promoting Health and Wellbeing: Critical Issues

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Promoting health and wellbeing is an essential part of all effective social work - not just for practice in healthcare settings. In fact, the IFSW holds that `social workers in all settings are engaged in health work' and physical and mental resilience can make a major difference to all service users' lives. Drawing on international literature and research, the authors collected here encourage thinking about the social, political, cultural, emotional, spiritual, economic and spatial aspects of health and wellbeing, and how they impact on the unique strengths and challenges of working with particular populations and communities. Divided into three parts, the first section outlines the major theoretical paradigms and critical debates around social work and ideas of wellbeing, globalisation, risk and vulnerability, and the natural environment. The second part goes on to explore how diverse understandings of culture, identity, spirituality and health require different strategies for meeting health and wellbeing needs. The final part presents a variety of examples of social work research in relation to health and wellbeing with specific populations, including mental health. Exploring how structural inequality, oppression and stigma can impact upon people, and drawing upon a social model of health, this book is an important read for all practitioners and researchers interested in social work, public health and social inclusion.