Ebola guide helps social workers educate public

Showing Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia on map of AfricaThe African countries hit hardest by the Ebola virus are Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Social workers can play a key role in educating people about the Ebola virus and allaying public concern about the disease — and NASW’s newly released guide about the virus can help.

The online resource, Ebola: A Social Work Guide, includes information such as basics about the disease, how it affects practice and how to donate and/or volunteer. It also includes other resources and “reflections on social work practice” in which social workers discuss their role in addressing Ebola through policy and direct practice.

“Social workers practice in hospitals, emergency departments, and public health clinics, likely with families and communities grieving the loss of loved ones to Ebola in their home country,” the guide says. “We work in clinics with clients and patients who may express concern about their own health or public safety, as well as in settings with persons struggling with mental health concerns now intensified by news of the epidemic.”

Another way NASW is helping the cause is by seeking donations for the NASW Foundation’s Social Work Disaster Assistance Fund, which provides financial assistance to social workers affected by disasters. The fund has aided social workers in the aftermaths of Hurricane Katrina, the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Contributions at this time will be focused on assisting Ebola workers in Africa, according to organizers.

“Funds received will go directly to social workers and/or social welfare organizations that can provide assistance to those who have suffered loss and are in need of financial or other assistance due to a disaster,” fund organizers said.

To Donate:

Mail your check to:
NASW Foundation-Ebola Crisis
750 First Street, NE, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20002

Online: The Social Work Disaster Assistance Fund

Call: 800-742-4089