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Human & Social Services

Mental & Behavioral Health Counselor
Career Pathway Course Units

Unit 1: What are Human and Social Services?

Human and social services is a field of work that encompasses a broad range of goals, tasks, careers, and clients. In general, human and social service workers are focused on providing resources and aid to people with all kinds of needs, as well as providing access to resources that benefit society in a larger sense. This field is interdisciplinary, meaning it requires knowledge in psychology, sociology, and anthropology in order for one to be effective. There are many reasons to go into the field of human and social services, such as making a difference, helping others, and fighting for social justice. Large, federal agencies oversee local and state agencies to focus on the goal of helping those in need and providing resources or services to struggling communities, or by providing resources to the general public.

Unit 2: History of Human Services

As long as humans have existed, they have cared for each other in a variety of ways. Even before centralized government programs and legislation, human services were impacting people’s lives. While human and social services professionals serve all members of society, the sector originally began as a way to serve the neediest members of society. Churches, volunteers, and organizations have a history of providing for those in need. Throughout American history, human services have surfaced to come to the aid of children, those in poverty, and those suffering from mental illness. As society has evolved, the human and social services sector formalized into a variety of careers focused on alleviating the struggles of certain individuals and groups of people, and over time, there have been technological advances that have made these services more accessible to everyone. Even though the United States has come a long way with the human services available to its citizens, there are still certain groups of people that remain disenfranchised. It is important for everyone to know what human services are, and how to access them.

Unit 3: The Helping Process

There are many ways to help a person. Sometimes all it takes is a doctor’s visit. Often, education and precautionary measures keep people healthy and safe. Other times, more interventions are needed to keep a person safe, healthy, and happy. The models of service delivery in the field of human services provide unique approaches to various individuals and populations. The medical, public health, and human service models of service delivery are the three main ways that individuals and groups of people benefit from human services. Many fields are especially skilled in one type of service delivery, but it is typically ideal to provide a treatment or action plan for an individual that treats the whole person as opposed to a fragmented issue.

Unit 4: Treating the Body

Keeping your body healthy isn’t just about taking medicine or washing your hands. It encompasses a broad range of lifestyle habits, preventative measures, safety precautions, and medical choices that are part of your everyday life. Each time you properly store food, get a flu vaccine, choose to eat healthy foods, and exercise, you are taking important steps to keeping your body safe and healthy. Even knowing what to do in an emergency is part of your personal safety. In fact, it is almost unimaginable to consider living your life without making conscious choices that affect your bodily health. As part of a society, it is our job to keep ourselves healthy as well as be aware of how our choices affect other people. There are many fields of work in human services that are dedicated to helping individuals and society achieve their health goals as well as provide medical care.

Unit 5: Treating the Mind

We’ve all been there. Sometimes things just don’t feel “right.” Stress, anxiety, and feelings of loneliness or sadness can often lead to more serious mental health issues that require outside help. Mental health awareness is part of being a healthy, functioning member of society. Mental illness, or mental health issues, can affect all kinds of people from all walks of life. Although there are many causes for mental health issues, there are also many resources that can provide help and support. It is important to understand the causes and signs of various mental health issues, as well as how to get help.

Unit 6: Family Systems

Families play an important role in the development and experiences of all individuals. Around the world, families have different structures, functions, and rituals that provide stability and balance for individuals living within the home. All families are different and are composed in different ways. The role of the individual within the family often changes throughout life, as families are constantly changing and accommodating to adjust to the various experiences and stressors that affect them. There are also many human service jobs that cater to the diverse needs of all kinds of families.

Unit 7: Family Wellness

We all rely on our families in one way or another. Most people’s earliest influences come from their families. From our very first breath, we rely on our parents and our families to provide for us and keep us safe. Parenting is a huge job, and requires many important decisions to be made. In order for a family to be healthy and functional, individuals must learn skills such as healthy parenting practices, effective communication strategies, and financial planning. Sometimes people reach out to resources in the community to get the services and help they need in order to keep their families happy and healthy. Family wellness encompasses a broad range of subjects, and there are many human services that focus on families’ needs.