Better Health Channel


Social workers are trained to help people experiencing a range of issues including family problems,anxiety, depression, crisis and trauma. They provide information and support to people who havemental health issues or those who need counselling. Social workers can also refer people to otherhealthcare professionals or organisations.

Social workers also act on behalf of individuals and organisations to help with social injustice. Theyhelp in a number of situations including child wellbeing and protection, domestic and family violence,homelessness and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Some social workers may workin a particular area, such as youth services or as refugee advocates (supporters).

Services provided

  • Information and advice
  • Health advice
  • Health-related information
  • Early intervention for those at risk
  • Referral to health services


Appointments can be made directly without a referral.

Your doctor or other health professional may also refer you to a social worker.


The cost of a social worker varies depending on the treatment. Contact the clinic before you attend if you are unsure of the cost.

Some social worker fees are covered by Medicare.

Medicare covers social worker fees for individuals who are eligible under the Chronic Disease Management (CDM) Program.

Private health funds
Treatment by social workers is covered by some private health funds but your coverage will depend on your insurance policy.



Conventional healthcare – allied health.


Industry self-regulated.


Optional registration through the Australian Association of Social Workers.

Minimum qualifications

Bachelor of Social Work.


Make sure that your social worker is a member of the Australian Association of Social Workers.


  • Social workers do not need to be registered but a number of organisations require that social workers are members of the Australian Association of Social Workers.
  • Social workers help people access resources and services in the community and provide counselling services.
  • The Australian Association of Social Workers is a member of the International Federation of Social Workers, a worldwide organisation for professional social workers.