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Social Work Visions From Around the Globe: Citizens, Methods and Approaches.

Social Work Visions From Around the Globe: Citizens, Methods and Approaches

By Anna Metteri, Teppo Kroger, Anneli Pohjola, Pirkko-Liisa Rauhala. Softcover/477 pages/The Haworth Press, first edition. 2004/ISBN 0-7890-2367-9

List Price $39.95

Here is a book for those interested in getting an international perspective on how they are faring with their work in human services. "Social Work Visions From Around the Globe" examines the principles and dilemmas of social work with people whose health is under threat.

Compiled and edited by Anna Metteri, an associate professor of social policy and social work at the University of Tampere, Finland, and three of her colleagues, this collection of essays brings the world of social work from five continents into the classroom and everyday practice. The book explores key issues in social work in health and mental health from the early historical roots of social work to developing a human rights perspective on the lives of men who face capital punishment. Chapters from around the world bring a new light to social work practice and understanding. With each chapter, the reader is introduced to challenging concepts and methods of practice that reflect the cultures and histories of diverse communities.

The book is divided into two sections. The first half discusses the position of individuals and families as users of health and mental health care services. Specific cases in the book include social work situations for children with disabilities, people with mentally illness, elderly individuals, cancer, and HIV/AIDS. This text includes research and findings on the challenges and solutions faced by social workers in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and Africa.


The second part of the book focuses on different approaches to social work in health and mental health that address:

* The diversity of societies and cultures;

* Strengthening the voice of the social worker and clients;

* The expertise of service users;

* Development of methods;

* Family life and childhood in global comparison; and

* Human rights issues in social work. Rosemary Sheehan of Monash

University, Victoria, Australia, describes how children of parents with mental health problems comprised just under 30 percent of all new child protection applications brought to the Melbourne Children's Court and referred to alternative dispute resolution during the first half of 1998. The study found that the lack of involvement by Australian mental health social workers in the child protection system meant the Children's Court was given little appreciation of either a child's emotional or a parent's mental health functioning. The lack of effective cooperation between the adult mental health and child protection services also meant decisions made about these children were made without full information about the needs and the likely outcomes for these children and their parents.

This lack of interagency cooperation is also found in the lcarus project in England, a cross-national project led by Brundel University.

Indian researcher M. Ubaidullah, an associate professor at Sri Venkateswara University, used a study on truck drivers in South India to show that the best vaccine for HIV prevention is the "social vaccine." This involves spreading education on how to protect oneself, 100 percent condom use, and changing sexual behavior. In fact, the social vaccine was so successful in Thailand that the infection rate came down by 50 percent, according to The Hindu, 9-3-2000.

Five Israeli researchers found that homelessness is a state of mind of which the actual, physical homelessness may be a manifested reflection. They concluded that if their conclusion is correct, even if a mental patient does initially own a home, he or she is at high risk to lose it. Their findings stress the need to develop new tools for assessing and measuring "mental homelessness" both in mentally ill populations as well as in the population at large and even in micro and macro societal frameworks such as the workplace or the nation as a whole.

Using tables, figures, case studies, and interviews, "Social Work Visions From Around the Globe" provides a holistic, client-based care to children, men, women, and families, and is a valuable addition to human service practitioners' collection in health and mental health. It shows how citizenship can be an inclusive practice related to social justice rather than a way of excluding people from opportunities and resources in our societies.
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Copyright 2005 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Solomon, Francis
Publication:Policy & Practice
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 1, 2005
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