Social Work in Action: August / September 2022

NASW Takes a Stand on Gun Violence

No more - to the elected leaders of the United States Congress

NASW joined eight other education, counseling, mental health and social work organizations in placing an open letter in USA Today calling on Congress to take immediate action to address the nation’s gun violence epidemic. The letter, which was a paid advertisement, said lawmakers show outrage when incidents of mass shootings and other gun violence occur — but then do nothing to enact laws to address it.

There have been 27 school shootings in the nation so far this year and six out of 10 deaths by suicide are caused by guns. Gunfire is the leading cause of death for children under the age of 19. 

In addition, NASW joined 59 other organizations in criticizing efforts to link the nation’s gun violence epidemic to mental illness.

The Statement on Gun Violence Crisis from 60 National Organizations said such comments create a false narrative and encourage stigmatization and discrimination against people living with a mental illness who are far more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators.

“These shootings have one thing in common — easy access to weapons that can kill with terrifying efficiency on a massive scale,” the statement read.

White House Council Invites Input From NASW

older woman holds bright yellow flowers

Sarah Christa Butts, NASW public policy director, and Chris Herman, NASW senior practice associate, represented the association in a meeting with White House Domestic Policy Council staff Jessica Schubel to discuss how the administration could enhance the mental health of older adults.

Topics discussed included the need to:

(a) boost recruitment and retention of the mental health workforce serving older adults,
(b) remove barriers Medicare beneficiaries face in accessing mental health services provided by clinical social workers,
(c) enact parity between coverage for physical and mental health–substance use care in Medicare and Medicaid, 
(d) integrate physical and mental health — substance use care, and 
(e) prevent and mitigate loneliness and social isolation, including in nursing homes.

NASEM Releases Nursing Home Quality Report 

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) has released a report, The National Imperative to Improve Nursing Home Quality: Honoring Our Commitment to Residents, Families, and Staff.

NASW Social Work Pioneer® and Wisconsin Chapter member Colleen Galambos served on the committee that developed the report, and NASW Maryland Chapter member Nancy Kusmaul served as a report reviewer. 

The report includes several recommendations supportive of social work, including the recommendation that each nursing home employ a full-time BSW or MSW. NASW is collaborating with the National Nursing Home Social Work Network to disseminate and implement report recommendations.

Read the blog post "National Report Addresses Nursing Home Quality and Promotes Value of Social Work"

Senate Committee Hears From Those Impacted by Student Loan Debt

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, hosted a listening session with student loan borrowers from around the country. The borrowers shared their experiences with student loan debt and its impact on their lives, including how crippling student debt undermines the dignity of work.

Among those who spoke was Deborah Harburger, a social worker from Maryland who was wrongly denied Public Service Loan Forgiveness due to servicer mismanagement.

NASW promotes student loan debt relief for social workers as part of its ongoing work to improve working conditions, salaries, and other benefits for members of the profession and to ensure that consumers have access to qualified professionals.

Learn more about NASW's student loan forgiveness efforts

cover of August / September 2022 issue

Social Work Advocates Flipbook

NASW members, sign in to read the August / September 2022 issue as a flipbook

diverse people, some wearing masks, family, small child

2021 Blueprint of Federal Social Policy Priorities

NASW's 2021 Blueprint of Federal Social Policy Priorities outlines urgently needed policy solutions in 21 issue areas. It is organized according to the Grand Challenges for Social Work.

Read NASW's 2021 Blueprint