THE BEGINNING OF APSWP
The idea to form an association began with a few members expressing the need for an association exclusively for psychiatric social work professionals. These members informally met up in Bangalore in 2017 to brainstorm on the possibility and process of the formation of such an association. In 2017, post-Mental Healthcare Act, 2017, a WhatsApp group of professionals with a Master’s Degree in Social Work (MSW) + M.Phil PSW was formed simultaneously at two places. Later in 2019 a ‘Telegram’ group comprising more than 300 members was formed with the support of the administrators of the previous WhatsApp groups in 2019.
Later, a core group consisting of experienced psychiatric social work professionals was formed to discuss the possibility of taking forward the idea of registering the Association exclusively for Psychiatric Social Work Professionals. The core group members started deliberating online on the name, logo, by-laws, founding office bearers & executive members, advisory members, place of registration, and office. These detailed and months-long discussions finally culminated in a meeting in Bangalore in September 2019. In this meeting, the by-laws were finalized and the registration process was initiated. Founding Office Bearers, Executive Members and Advisory Committee members were finalized. Care was taken to give a pan India representation as much as possible. APSWP was registered on 08/11/2019.
The logo of the Association of Psychiatric Social Work Professionals (APSWP) was designed in October 2019 through a consultative process that involved 26 members who made up the core committee of the Association as it was steered to form and register itself.
The hands holding up the leaves in a brain-shaped arrangement are hands that support, hands that nurture, hands that care, and hands that carry the assurance of holding up.
The leaves can be interpreted to represent the individuals and communities that PSWs work with but in this case, they also stand for the PSWs themselves. APSWP is an association formed to support the practitioners of psychiatric social work and so, the hands are, in fact, APSWP. The choice of leaves to depict PSWs is deliberate. Flowers happen because of leaves. It is the leaves that transpire, that photosynthesis, that enable flowers to bloom and fruits to form. If help-seekers are to blossom and come into their own, PSWs are the leaves that help with life-giving juices. And APSWP contributes to creating an enabling environment in which PSWs can give their professional best.
The three words below the leaves form a crucible – a container that can withstand immensely high temperatures without melting down or being otherwise distorted. The words themselves have been chosen with care.
Solidarity – is the commitment made by the members of APSWP individually, collectively, and organisationally to protect and promote the professional interests of psychiatric social work and its practitioners. Advocacy is an important component of this commitment.
Standards – refers to the commitment to maintain and promote professionalism that achieves the best at all times in a fast-changing world. Networking, linking, learning, and teaching are important components of this commitment.
Ethics – is the commitment to ensure that the profession can look itself in the face anytime and feel proud. Professional integrity is an important component of this commitment.