Social Work and Health: An Interdisciplinary Perspective

With Social Help, you are able to provide hope to those in need and provide assistance where it is most needed. With over two billion people around the world who are officially poor, one could say that poverty is an institution. From childhood to old age, poverty effects each one of us and makes us what we are. From childhood to old age, poverty follows a vicious circle and those who are poor are here serving as catalysts to pave the way for better education, prosperity and eventually a better tomorrow which works for the poor.

There are a variety of ways to define and measure poverty. One could liken it to the proverbial line ‘a cup of poison equal to half a cup of water’. This would represent a person’s level of relative wealth or income. In short, it indicates how well off they are financially. The level of social help that was received, measured using relevant metrics and compared with national average data is a great indicator of the level of assistance people need, which in turn would reflect on their standard of living.

Self-Rated Quality of Life

Based on the measurement of self-rated quality of life, there is a remarkable connection between how a person lives and their level of social help received. A correlation has been established between a person’s level of social help received and the quality of life that they experience. A study on the quality of life experienced by rural children in Dondale, Co Kerry showed that rural families who had received at least one hour of community based welfare were significantly more likely to have higher quality scores than those who did not receive such assistance. While this study cannot prove causation, it does support that there is a strong correlation between social assistance and positive life experiences. However, while this was done on a sample of children in Dondale, Co Kerry, the study does not indicate that the correlation exists anywhere else in Ireland.

How a person rated their level of social help was also studied in this study. The results showed that those who received aid were perceived to be more helpful and less needy by passers-by. Surprisingly however, there was no significant difference in rating between how people felt about aid Receiving and how they felt about receiving no social help at all. What this means for us is that those receiving social help are as self-employed as we are. The self-rated quality of life ratings, therefore, provide a more accurate picture of how recipients experience being on the receiving end of societal assistance. It would appear from these findings that those receiving social assistance are less needy and more self-employed than the general population.

Higher Education

Study also indicates that recipients of social help tend to have higher education levels than the general population. The Higher Education indicator measures how many years of education beneficiaries have obtained degrees. There was a significant difference in the results when comparing those who received social help versus the same group who did not. Those who had higher education levels were significantly more likely to receive social assistance than those with lower education levels. This data strengthens the idea that higher education provides a higher standard of living for older people.

In addition, it was found that the statistical analysis indicates that those receiving social assistance are more likely to be in a state of depression. The study did not specifically look into depression as a cause or effect, but the authors of the statistical analysis concur that depression is more prevalent in the group of recipients who receive help for their health disorders. In a previous study, it was found that health disorders, which included chronic sickness, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, and various mood disorders, tended to be worse in the households of those who receive social assistance. This study’s results indicate that receiving social assistance is a protective factor for health disorders, which may lead to a reduction in the number of people who are diagnosed with the disease or illness.

Social Welfare Benefits

Another significant finding from this study is that social welfare benefits lead to a decrease in long-term hospital admissions. The research did not explore why this would occur, but it is possible that those who receive social assistance benefit from the increased social awareness and participation. There is also some evidence that recipients of social welfare benefits have lower rates of alcohol abuse. The decrease in hospital admissions and substance abuse diagnoses may lead to fewer health care costs.

As these findings suggest, there are several important relationships between Social Help and health outcomes. Health outcomes include lower mortality, better life expectancy, less severe health problems, and reduced use of healthcare. Other outcomes include improved educational opportunities and employment stability. The improvement in life expectancy is particularly important given that many elderly people do not have health insurance. Receiving Social Help is an important factor in preventing many of these problems. If you or someone you know is at risk for, or has already been affected by, a medical condition, contact your local social work or child welfare agency.