15 Crucial Tools for Social Workers

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Social work can be extremely hectic. Work spanning multiple disciplines, high case loads, working through government agencies and a complex network of forms can begin to take their toll. Luckily for social workers–much like in education and health care settings–there are quite a large number of apps that are extremely handy for day-to-day practice. Check out our 15 favorite tools and apps for social workers below!

The Savvy Social Worker App

Android App

This app, developed by the University of Buffalo School of Social Work aggregates developments in social work practice, as well as practice research findings into one place in an e-reader format. Select from different social work-related “channels” you would like to follow and they’ll update on their own. Key sources included in the Savvy Social Worker stream include SAMHSA, the Cochrane Collaboration, the Campbell Collaboration, and Information for Practice.

ASWB Social Work Flashcard Apps

iOS App // Android App

This Association of Social Work Boards Exam prep app offers over 1100 pre-made flashcards grouped into ten topics: human development and behavior in the environment, issues of diversity, communication, professional relationships, professional values and ethics, supervision, administration and policy, assessment, diagnosis and intervention planning, service delivery, practice evaluation and the application of research, and clinical exams. Other flashcard sets may be imported and features like custom color schemes and text to speech are available for the premium version.

Suicide Safety Ap by SAMHSA

iOS App // Android App

This app was created by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) with the aim of helping to increase the ability to locate individuals who are suicide risks, start conversations, and locate applicable treatment options. The app teaches the SAFE-T approach, gives example case studies, contains a number of fact sheets and treatment resources, provides conversation starters, and locates treatment options.

Social Work Field Guide

iOS App

The Social Work Field guide is a community-driven app for social workers that contains over 50 pre-loaded social work resources. Add your own resources to the mix and then submit them to help establish future updates. Resources are separated into topics such as children, teens, adults, older adults, and general.

TapTapSee App

iOS App // Android App

Yep, the name’s pretty descriptive for this app for the blind and visually impaired. This app allows users to double tap the screen to take a picture–from any angle–of a large number of objects, TapTapSee then notifies the user what they’ve taken a picture of. The aim of the app was to help blind and visually impaired become more independent in their daily lives. In the words of cultofmac.com it’s “like a sighted assistant that never grow[s] tiered of you asking ‘what’s that?'”

The Cochrane Library Evidence-Based Practices

iOS App

The Cochrane Library provides independent evidence for health care decision making presented through a variety of media types including: summary version, podcasts, slide sets, and videos. A color coded menu system let’s users choose the type of health concern they’re trying to gather information about (child health, mental health, heart & circulation, etc.) and cutting edge research. Articles may be downloaded in PDF, and html links allow users to share where they are in the Cochrane Library.

Google Translate

iOS App // Android App

This one’s just common sense, but also worth noting as it’s a free tool that has drastically increased in translation quality over the last few years. Many social workers are exposed to patients from a number of nationalities, many times not all speaking the same language. Google translate offers support between 90 languages, takes input with your voice, camera, keyboard, or handwriting, and allows you to save translations and access them from any device. The best part, no internet access is required.

Calm Counter – Social Story and Anger Management App

iOS APP

Calm Counter is a social story and anger management tool that was originally built for children with autism and other conditions that make it difficult to calm down, but can be great for any distraught child. The app offers two modes, an “I need a break” mode, which had a number of deep breathing and “reset” exercises, and a social story mode that reinforces that uses explanatory feelings to ensure the viewer that they’re alright.

WebMD Pain Coach

iOS App // Android App

WebMD Pain Coach is an app built for those with chronic pain conditions which helps to record your symptoms, triggers, and notes while reporting potential treatments and tips. Treatments and tips include articles, goals, videos, slideshows, and quizzes. A physician approved library of resources is also available.

Individual Education Programs (IEP) Management Apps

iOS App

IEP’s, or Individual education programs are a hallmark of both special education and social work, and involve accommodations as well as education plans for those in special education programs. The IEP Checklist helps teachers and parents to communicate on a number of special education regulations. It should be noted that not every item on the IEP checklist is required by special education regulations. To discern the regulations for your particular state, check out Federal Regulations as well as the IEP checklist by the parent educational advocacy.

PTSD Coach

iOS App // Android App

PTSD can wreak havoc on the mind and life of those who have it, often coupling with other conditions that are tied to social work: inability to hold down jobs, homelessness, substance abuse issues, or emotional distress. This app, provided by the Veteran’s Administration and the National Center for PTSD, offers reliable information on symptoms and treatment for PTSD, tools for tracking when (and if) user attacks occur, as well as easy to use tool’s to calm down users. In the right hands–or the hands of someone who suffers from PTSD–a simple app can make such a difference as far as quality of life.

iTriage

iOS App // Android App

iTriage is like having a full-time medical care assistant who is available around the clock. This app–developed by two ER medicine doctors–allows you to look up data about symptoms, find the nearest treatment facilities, see the average wait times at local clinics, send your symptom information to the appropriate doctor, and even check in while you’re still on your way to the clinic. In the event of an emergency, the app can also function as a critical resource, saving your personal medical information as well as previous symptoms for treating physicians to see.

iGrade

iOS App

iGrade is a powerful tool for any social worker or mental health professional, allowing you to not only ditch paper files, but make them as portable as your phone or iPad. The app allows the storage of unlimited patient files and sessions. Files can be accessed on the go, added to, shared with other professionals, or emailed to patients with recommendations and notes in simple form emails. At any point, files may also be printed.

DSM-5

iOS App // Android App

DSM-5, the latest version of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, is the preeminent psychiatric reference as well as best friend to many social workers. Streamlined in ways the traditional text couldn’t be, the app keeps track of recent searches in the manual, supports acronym, code, and symptom search features, and has a new easy-to-read classification hierarchy.

KnowBullying

iOS App // Android App

Yet another app by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), this app builds on the proven fact that just 15 minutes of “checking in” with your child a day can help establish a strong relationship and prevent bullying. KnowBullying offers conversation starters, strategies to prevent bullying (by age group), warning signs, reminders for when to check in a child, a section for educators, and a way to share advice shared by the app socially.