By Nicole Long, MSW, LICSW,
CEO of Old Colony Elder Services

March is Social Work Month, a time for celebrating the important profession of social work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, social work is among the fastest growing professions in the United States. BLS projects that there will be almost 800,000 social workers in the U.S. by 2032, representing a seven percent rise over the decade.
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) will help lead the 2024 Social Work Month celebration with the theme “Empowering Social Workers.” As the social work profession confronts serious challenges along with our nation, including the need for additional mental health service providers, the campaign will focus on ways in which Americans can support the social work profession.
The annual Social Work Month campaign in March is a time to inform the public, policymakers, legislators, and employers about how social workers assist millions of people every day, helping them to overcome life’s hurdles and live to their full potential.
According to a brief released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, an estimated 20% of adults aged 55 and older have some form of mental health concern. The brief also states that among older adults, depression is the most prevalent mental health problem.1
Furthermore, when it comes to accessing mental health services, older adults may face additional challenges such as social isolation and transportation or financial issues.
Old Colony Elder Services (OCES), designated as one of 23 Aging Services Access Points in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, strives to improve access to mental health services for older adults. OCES has an Elder Mental Health Outreach Team led by licensed clinical social workers.
OCES staff provide behavioral health and wellness services to older adults and people with disabilities who may be isolated or encounter barriers that limit access to behavioral health care. OCES also supports those who have complex behavioral health conditions, chronic illness, substance misuse, or who are in crisis situations that may require counseling or long-term case management to improve overall wellbeing.
In addition to the Elder Mental Health Outreach Team, OCES’s staff includes many other licensed social workers who provide guidance and resources on a wide range of topics, including physical health issues, housing issues, financial hardships, and other challenges that older adults may face.
Join OCES in celebrating Social Work Month and all social workers who help improve the lives of individuals and families!
For more information about OCES, the Elder Mental Health Outreach Team, and other programs and services, visit

1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Association of Chronic Disease Directors. The State of Mental Health and Aging in America Issue Brief 1: What Do the Data Tell Us? Atlanta, GA: National Association of Chronic Disease Directors; 2008.

About the Author: Nicole Long is the Chief Executive Officer of Old Colony Elder Services (OCES). Founded in 1974, OCES is a private, non-profit organization proudly serving greater Plymouth County and surrounding communities. OCES is designated as one of 25 Aging Services Access Points (ASAPs) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. OCES’s mission is to support the independence and dignity of older adults and individuals with disabilities by providing essential information and services that promote healthy and safe living. The agency offers a number of programs to serve older adults, individuals with disabilities, their families and caregivers. For more information call 508-584-1561 or visit