Social workers: helping put the pieces together

Posted on 03/31/20 11:52:am Social worker


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Over 400 social workers (comprised of our licensed therapists) make up the Rogers team across the system. As Jonna Pestka, LCSW, social services manager in Oconomowoc explains, this role serves as a critical component of the patient’s treatment team.

“The primary goal of a social worker is to serve as an advocate for patients. They’re constantly in communication with the rest of the treatment team, patients’ families, and outpatient providers to ensure everyone is on the same page with each patient’s recovery plan.”

What does a social worker do?

Jonna shares five important ways a social worker fits into a patient’s mental health journey at Rogers.

1. Helping patients and their families review various treatment options available to them

“We help bring together the pieces. Throughout treatment we work with the patient and families to understand the recommendations of the treatment team for ongoing care. We also help them discern choices that will aid their recovery and gain a better understanding of the support needed to help the patient make changes.”

2. Ensuring a patient’s basic needs are met

“It’s important for patients to have their basic needs taken care of so they can better focus on their long-term recovery goals. Basic needs can include housing, or securing an alternate supportive home, school, or work environment. These things help the patient feel stable and supported as they take positive steps in their recovery. It’s hard to focus on treatment for anxiety or depression if you’re worried about having to return to a situation at home that is affecting your mental health.”

3. Leading group, family, and individual therapy

“Social workers help lead group, family, and individual therapy sessions. By being involved with therapy, social workers are better able to support patients in learning and engaging in new skills to cope with their life challenges and mental health needs.”

4. Developing a plan for continued care

“One of the most critical components of a social worker’s role in a patient’s treatment journey is to ensure patients have a plan for continued care when they step down to a lower level of care in one of our programs or when they leave Rogers. We coordinate with the treatment team, outpatient providers, patient, and family to determine the best next steps for recovery. When the patient is ready to move back to their outpatient provider, we want to ensure a smooth transition. If the patient is not already working with a mental health professional, we’ll help select a provider whose expertise and treatment style are a good fit for the patient.”

5. Supporting professional and educational growth after Rogers

“We assess the needs of the whole person and can assist the patient by connecting them to important resources for work and school that they may need after leaving treatment. Our goal is for them to be successful in every part of their life.”

She also adds, “One of the best parts of our job is being able to see the progress a patient has made from when they first arrived at Rogers to their last day with us.”

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, learn more about the evidence-based treatment Rogers offers nationwide or request a free, confidential screening online.


Call 800-767-4411 or go to to request a free screening.