NASW News


Entries for 2009

Nov 17, 2009

The U.S. military and organizations that offer mental health care to veterans have made tremendous strides over the years in how they recognize and treat mental stress during times of war. During the American Civil War, for instance, the term "soldier's heart" was used to describe a combat stress reaction, or CSR, and focused on treatments that would place less physical stress on the heart, such as improving one's posture and wearing loose-fitting clothing around the waist. By World War I, the term "shell shock" was being used to describe a CSR, although it was believed to be the result of a physical injury to the nerves that happened when ...

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Nov 16, 2009

NASW co-sponsored a UNAIDS forum in Washington in September that highlighted the needs of marginalized populations associated with HIV, particularly men who have sex with men and other sexual minorities. Evelyn Tomaszewski, project director for the NASW HIV/AIDS Spectrum: Mental Health Training and Education of Social Workers Project, moderated the panel event that included speakers from UNAIDS, the U.S. State Department, Romania and Jamaica. Tomaszewski said the meeting was first in a series of forums addressing global HIV and human rights in collaboration with World AIDS Day, Dec. 1. "Today's program is part of a series designed to share ...

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Nov 15, 2009

Efforts to attach the Dorothy I. Height and Whitney M. Young Jr. Social Work Reinvestment Act (H.R. 795, S. 686) to health care reform legislation were under way this fall by U.S. Rep. Edolphus "Ed" Towns, D-N.Y., lead sponsor of the House bill who is also a social worker. Towns expressed the need to reinvest in the profession of social work, telling lawmakers that social workers are a key component to improving the nation's overall health care services. In a letter to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Towns asked that any health reform legislation include the Social Work Reinvestment Act's goal to establish a Social Work Reinvest...

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Nov 14, 2009

NASW has developed a new Web site that will allow social workers and the public to critique and improve the way social workers are portrayed in the news media and the entertainment industries. The site, Social Workers Speak, offers visitors a chance to blog and exchange commentary with members of the media as topics in popular culture unfold. "We want to give social workers and non-social workers an opportunity to express what they feel about how the social work profession or social work issues are being depicted in a news article or program, a television show or a movie," said Brandon Maddox, NASW Web manager. "The topics will be timely a...

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Nov 13, 2009

The U.S. Government Accountability Office has incorporated NASW comments into its review of efforts by the Social Security Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense to inform wounded servicemembers of Social Security disability benefits. The GAO asked NASW to comment on a tool it had developed to evaluate the efforts of the DoD, VA and SSA to notify military personnel and veterans of disability benefits. The tool outlines a set of key practices that contribute to successful outreach campaigns. These practices include: Outlining strategic goals for the campaign of a desired response. Identifying a...

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Nov 12, 2009

Need More on Health Care After thumbing through the Association's October News, I was stunned to find nothing advocating health care reform. The only mention I could find was the director's editorial on the "death panels." Does this mean NASW, like the American public, is more satisfied with its own health insurance coverage than the public option sponsored by the Democratic Party? Your silence is deafening, particularly at this crucial time in the congressional and public debates. I thought NASW would use its paper to be all over this; touting the need for universal health care and urging its members to contact their elected representativ...

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Nov 11, 2009

Despite an acknowledgement that mental health issues exist among the deaf and hard of hearing, many social workers are unaware of the extent to which they must accommodate these clientele, said NASW Associate Counsel Sherri Morgan. Morgan is co-author of NASW's September 2009 Legal Issue of the Month: "Social Workers and Accommodations for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Clients." Morgan said social workers are not bound only by ethical obligations to ensure that hearing-impaired clients have equal access to services. She points out that in addition to the NASW Code of Ethics prohibiting social workers from discriminating on the basis of mental or...

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Nov 10, 2009

NASW Executive Director Elizabeth J. Clark attended a September White House meeting hosted by first lady Michelle Obama, who explained the need for health care reform on behalf of women and families. Obama started her speech by welcoming her good friend, social worker Dr. Dorothy Height, whom the first lady described as her inspiration. Clark said dozens of women's rights organizations as well as health care reform advocates were in attendance. Three of the women who spoke at the event recalled their own challenges with the current health care system, including burdensome debt from skyrocketing costs and loss of a loved one, untreated illne...

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Nov 09, 2009

A 2008 survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found the rate of illicit drug use holding steady, but noted a decline in prescription drug misuse and methamphetamine use. According to SAMHSA's 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the overall rate of past-month illicit drug use — including marijuana/hashish, cocaine (including crack), heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants and prescription drug misuse — among Americans age 12 and older held steady at 8 percent between 2007 and 2008. However, misuse of prescription drugs declined over that same period, from 2.8 percent to 2.5 percent, while metham...

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Nov 08, 2009

Brian Smedley: “Ultimately we bear this burden.” NASW co-sponsored a U.S. Senate briefing that focused on the potential cost savings of reducing disparities in health outcomes in any health care reform legislation. The September event was sponsored by the National Working Group on Health Disparities and Health Reform. NASW is a member of the coalition, which aims to ensure health disparity issues are addressed in the health care reform debate. Speakers from several leading health, mental health and medical organizations explained that eliminating racial and ethnic disparities can improve the quality of health care nationally....

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