The importance of self-care is a widely discussed topic in social work. From the heavy workload to the emotional toll of working with people battling some of life’s most difficult challenges, it’s not uncommon for social workers to suffer job burnout. That’s why it’s important for social workers and those who are aspiring to enter this profession to take the time to unwind and recharge.
For those that find relaxation in watching an uplifting film, here are our top five movie recommendations that current or prospective students of social work can enjoy.
- Fundamentals of Caring
This 2016 drama is an uplifting story of a friendship between a teenage boy suffering from a terminal genetic disease and his caretaker, a middle-aged writer struck by a personal tragedy. The movie explores emotional topics such as disability, loss, and hope while daring to be funny in light of some of life’s darkest circumstances. And while there are no social worker roles played in the movie, the film awakens empathy and offers a useful perspective on life with a disability and caring for the disabled.
Based on a 1996 novel, Push by an American author who goes by the pen name Sapphire, Precious is a powerful film about an African-American teenage girl suffering physical and emotional abuse inflicted by her parents. Daring to imagine a better life for herself, she is helped by those who care to make a difference; including her schoolteacher and her social worker. The movie portrays some aspects of social work practice with victims of abuse.
- Short Term 12
This 2013 drama is a story of a young woman fighting to make a difference in a group home for troubled teenagers. A victim of abuse herself, she can relate to many of the teens that walk through the door of a home she supervises. However, what she fails to recognize is that before she can help others, she must first begin to heal herself. For aspiring social workers, this movie offers insight into working with youth and highlights the importance of self-care.
- Sentence for Two
This documentary looks at the stories of four pregnant, incarcerated women who must find someone to care for their newborns while they serve their sentences. With only a few options available, these women face the looming possibility of having to give up their baby. The documentary sheds light on some justice system issues that ultimately result in a punishment of both mother and child. The film may be ideal for social work students who are interested in activism or working with the incarcerated population.
- In Jackson Heights
This documentary looks at the lives of people living in Jackson Heights, a very diverse community in Queens, New York City. Known for its immigrant population, Jackson Heights is a home to people from many countries including Mexico, Bangladesh, India, China and others. The movie explores the topic of immigrant assimilation and their attempt to maintain cultural and traditional ties with their countries of origin. For social work students who are interested in working with immigrants, the movie offers a window into one of the most diverse communities in the country.