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Letters to the Editor (September 2012)


Veterans’ training initiative discriminates against some

I read with interest the story about The Veterans' Mental Health Training Initiative. I agree that the training is a valuable one and that training colleagues on PTSD and TBI is of course important. I am, though, dismayed that NASW and NYS do not seem to get that this may be somewhat discriminatory in its focus.

There are many veterans that have preceded our brothers and sisters in the services and that has seemed to be forgotten. There were these injuries before Afghanistan and Iraq — from WWII through Somalia and Beirut.

It is in particular a slap in the face to Vietnam Veterans and seems to replicate their homecoming being both ignored and vilified. I guess that the Code of Ethics is in pencil with NASW stating policy against discrimination of any kind.

Charles Greco, M.A., LCSW-R, BCD,
Vietnam Veteran U.S. Army 2nd Field force Vietnam
Eastport, N.Y.

Not all social workers endorse President Obama

In front of me is the June issue, vol. 57, number 6, with the bold headline “NASW endorses Obama.”

Please remember that while a majority of social workers and community organizers may embrace Obama, there is a silent minority of caring, competent social workers who do not for various valid reasons.

We uphold social justice and the NASW Code of Ethics and are either Libertarians, Conservatives, Independents or (dare I say) Republicans.

Whomever wins in November, I hope that social workers and NASW will wholeheartedly respect the Office of The President. God bless this great country.

Adrienne Dianne Kraft, LCSW, QCSW,
North Pole, Alaska

Learning police officers’ jobs helps with therapy

I enjoyed reading the “Mental health services can benefit police officers” article by Rena Malai in the July NASW News. Both Sgt. Neuman and (retired) Officer Provetto bring an invaluable perspective to working with police officers and I am glad they are members of NASW.

Please allow me to add some additional thoughts. Although it is likely most large and medium-size police departments have Employee Assistance Programs, this may not be true for smaller agencies. Those NASW members or other behavioral health clinicians can and should provide a role in treating the men and women who protect and serve in our communities.

As a NASW member for more than 30 years and as a police therapist for the past 10 years, I can share another obstacle law enforcement officers may face when and if they try to seek therapy. Many civilians and most therapists have no idea what the job of a police officer is like. Officers often feel uncomfortable talking to non-cops, especially behavioral health therapists.

If your local police department has a Citizens Academy or allows citizens to participate in ride-alongs with officers, I recommend it.

The more exposure and understanding behavioral health therapists have about law enforcement the more likely it will be that those in need will seek us out, especially if they trust us and that we have some understanding of their jobs.

James N. Rascati, LCSW
Clinical Instructor of Psychiatry (Social Work)
Yale University School of Medicine,
Woodbridge, Conn.

Fulbright article highlights global aspect of social work

It was a pleasant surprise to read the “Fulbright Scholars teach and learn abroad” article, with mention of the social work school I went to 25 years ago, which is located half around the globe in India — none other than School of Social Work Roshni Nilaya College.

I was happy to recognize a couple of faces in this newsletter for the first time. I felt it is worthwhile and rewarding to be a member of NASW and receive this newsletter.

I would like to mention about the great MSW and BSW program Roshni Nilaya offers. The credit goes to this school for the early exposure and experience it gave me working with communities of people inflicted with leprosy and tuberculosis. I also got a unique opportunity to do an internship at a NGO working for Siddhis — a community of African origin people living in India for the past 100 some years.

Through this article I learned about the Fulbright program and hope to someday share my social work experience of 20 plus years in two different countries. The United States has diverse immigrants, and some of us are social workers from around the globe.

It will be nice to see from time to time an article in this newsletter about professional social work in other parts of the world.

Celine Benny, ASW, MSW. Equl,
San Jose, California

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