The big picture: Infographics for social work

by Pat Shelly

We’ve all heard the saying:

“A picture is worth a thousand words.”

splashes of paint in many colors erupting against a black background


Aristotle said, “The soul never thinks without a picture.”

Pictures can inform and inspire us.

One way to brighten and broaden the view of social work is through infographics.

An infographic is a visual representation of information or data. It combines data and design in a format that is easy to share and to understand.

Chart showing circles overlapping withthe elements of a good infographic: Data, Design, Story, Sharability

image: Daniel Zeevi – Dashburst

Given the role of technology and the internet in knowledge-production and dissemination, this educational tool is especially useful today.

At the UB School of Social Work, we’ve found that this tool is a very popular one. Thousands of copies of our “How to Flourish in Social Work: Steps to Self-Care” have been distributed to students, alumni, agencies and other schools of social work in the USA and abroad.

chart showing a flower with leaves indicating self-care steps: exercise, meditate, read, laugh, sleep, take time off, access green spaces regularly.

Order copies of this free infographic here

And we expect our latest infographic, “A Social Worker’s Guide to Social Media,” will meet with equal success.


(Get your copy here.)

The list below — an eclectic selection of infographics that show good design, data, story and shareability — offers examples addressing 12 topics areas:

What is Social Work? / Social Work Careers / Macro Social Work /

Social Justice Issues / Human Rights / Social Media &Technology /

Health & Mental Health / ACEs / Trauma & Trauma-Informed Care /

The Brain / Child Welfare / Self-Care /

We hope that readers will send in links to more infographics to our “Comments” section below.

What is Social Work?

University of Southern California School of Social Work. (2012). [Social Work 101] [Infographic] Retrieved from

The College of Social Work, United Kingdom. (2015). [Real Social Work: What Social Workers Do and the Challenges They Face] [Infographic].

Social Work Degree Center. (2013, August). [Looking for Leaders: The Crisis in Social Work] [Infographic]. Retrieved from

Social Work Careers

Social Work Career. (2015, February). [Top 10 Skills for Clinical Social Workers] [Infographic]. Retrieved from

Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, Case Western Reserve University. (2014, March 4). [
Making a Difference: Community Practice for Social Change]
[Infographic]. Retrieved from

Top 10 Online Colleges. (2015, July 2). [Top 10 Work Skills for 2020] [Infographic]. Retrieved from

Macro Social Work

Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, Case Western Reserve University. (n.d.).
[Making An Impact Across Diverse Industries: Social Work Careers to Explore[Infographic]. Retrieved from

Social Work Career. (2015, June). [7 Career Tips for Macro Social Workers]  [Infographic]. Retrieved from

7 Macro Social Work Career Tips

Jane Ellen Stevens and ACEs Connection Network. (2015, April 8).[Roadmap to Resilience] [Infographic]. Retrieved from

Social Justice Issues:

University of New England School of Social Work. (2013). [Social Work and Social Justice Ideals] [Infographic]. Retrieved from
Good Magazine and Column Five (2012).  [And Justice For All: Social Justice Index] [Infographic].
Retrieved from

Bustle. (2015, August 23). [What Does Black Lives Matter Want?] [Infographic].
Retrieved from

 What Does #BlackLivesMatter Want?

Amnesty International United Kingdom. (n.d.). [6 Ways to Help End the Crisis in Syria: Justice for Syria[Infographic].
Retrieved from

Human Rights

United Nations. (n.d.)  [The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights] [Infographic]. Retrieved from

Association for Progressive Communications. (n.d.). [The Impact of the Internet on Human Rights] [Infographic]. Retrieved from


Health/ Mental Health

Disabled World. (2011, May). [Disability in America] [Infographic]. Retrieved from

Recovery Connection. (n.d.). [What is a Dual Diagnosis?] [Infographic]. Retrieved from 

Social Work Degree Center. (2014). [Suicide] [Infographic]. Retrieved from

ACEs – Adverse Childhood Experiences

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014, May 13). [The ACE Study] [Infographic]. Retrieved from

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study Pyramid

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. (2013). [The Truth About ACEs] [Infographic]. Retrieved from

Trauma / Trauma-Informed Practice

National Council for Community Behavioral Health. (n.d.) [How to Manage Trauma] [Infographic]. Retrieved from

University at Buffalo School of Social Work. (2014). [Trauma & Trauma-Informed-Care] [Infographic]. Retrieved from


Impact Lab. (2014, January 30). [ Neuroplasticity: How Our Brain Rewires and Adapts] [Infographic]. Retrieved from

Best Psychology Degrees. (n.d.). [The Brain: A User’s Guide to Emotions] [Infographic]. Retrieved from

Child Welfare

Institute of Medicine and National Research Council of the National Academies. (2013, September 11). [Understanding Child Abuse & Neglect] [Infographic]. Retrieved from

Melanie Sage. (2014, May 27).  [What Do You Know About the Indian Child Welfare Act?] [Infographic].Retrieved from

Human Rights Campaign. (n.d.) [LGBT Youth Growing up in America] [Infographic]. Retrieved from


University at Buffalo School of Social Work. (2013). [How to flourish in social work: Steps to self-care] [Infographic]. Retrieved from

Social Work Tech and Ignacio Pacheco. (2011, May 25).  [Social Work Tech Self-Care Plan Template] [Infographic]. Retrieved from

Vanessa Velez and Kindness Blog. (2014, June 6).  [9 Little Ways to Take Care of You] [Infographic]. Retrieved from

Social Media / Technology

Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences. Case Western Reserve University. (n.d.).
[Technology is Revolutionizing Social Work] [Infographic]. Retrieved from

University of San Francisco and Social Media Today. (2012). [Can Social Media Help During Disasters?] [Infographic]. Retrieved from

Float Mobile Learning. (2015). [Mobile Medicine and Mobile Healthcare] [Infographic]. Retrieved from

University at Buffalo School of Social Work. (2015). [Social Worker’s Guide to Social Media[Infographic]. Retrieved from

Melanie Sage. (2014). [How Do Social Workers Use Social Media?] [Infographic]. Retrieved from

We hope you will add to the list – send us the links to your best infographics on social work!

image: colors splashing upwards: TerrellCotton. (2015). Retrieved from:×1080-wallpaper-600×300.jpg

Zeev, D. (2015, June 22). [What Makes a Good Infographic?] [Infographic] Retrieved from:


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