Social Work in Action: February / March 2023

NASW Supports Launch of National White Ribbon Day

White Ribbon USA recently launched the first U.S. National White Ribbon Day on Capitol Hill.

The event was organized in part by NASW and supported by the Department of Veterans Affairs. President Joe Biden delivered a statement with a similar stance on the Occasion of International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

White Ribbon USA’s mission is to reduce and prevent domestic violence and engage more men in supporting all efforts to end gender-based violence and discrimination toward women. “We want to spread awareness to the public about the disturbing truths of domestic abuse and take actionable steps to make domestic violence the exception, not the norm,” it states.

Pictured at the launch event, from left, are former Congressman Alan Wheat, chairman of Wheat Shroyer Governmental Relations; Lelia Jackson, director of the Assault & Harassment Prevention Office in the Veterans Health Administration; Veronika Mudra, CEO and founder White Ribbon USA; Danielle Spears, executive assistant to the CEO of NASW; Julie Shroyer, president and CEO of Wheat Shroyer Governmental Relations; and Arthur Evans Jr., PhD, CEO of the American Psychological Association

In addition, the VA hosted a Facebook Live panel discussion in 2022 about domestic violence awareness and key resources for those who have experience intimate partner violence. Representatives from the VA, NASW and White Ribbon USA participated in the discussion and Q and A session.

View the event on NASW's Facebook page.

Community Mental Wellness Act Introduced in Congress

NASW was among 115 organizations to endorse passage of the Community Mental Wellness Act, which was introduced in Congress in 2022. With communities facing extreme weather events, worsening epidemics, and rising temperatures, U.S. Sen. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., introduced the bill to establish a first-of-its-kind $30 million pilot grant program through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The grant will provide funding to community-based mental wellness and resilience programs designed to address the compounding systemic mental health issues in communities bearing the brunt of the climate crisis.

“The National Association of Social Workers sends our deepest thanks to Sen. Edward Markey for introducing the Community Mental Wellness and Resilience Act,” said Sarah Butts, MSW, director of public policy at NASW. “Social workers are on the front line helping individuals, families, and communities remain safe, healthy and resilient during and after adversities. Forming mutual support networks in neighborhoods and communities is key to healing and recovery for those that endure trauma from natural disasters and other stressors. NASW strongly supports this legislation because it will fund community-based initiatives that build individual and collective psychological and emotional resilience.”

Social Work Licensure Survives Proposed Change in Ohio

The NASW Ohio Chapter was successful in demanding the state legislature not pass legislation that could have seriously harmed thousands of Ohioans who are experiencing mental health struggles.

The Ohio Senate on Nov. 30 amended Substitute HB 509 to allow people with degrees other than social work to be licensed social workers, an action that would have eroded the quality of mental health care in the state, said Danielle Smith, executive director of NASW-Ohio.

“This is an egregious mistake that would cause damage that could last generations,” Smith said of the amendment. “If the bill passes, Ohio faces a future where someone who has no training in mental health can diagnose a mental illness.”

However, the Ohio Senate Workforce and Higher Education Committee later released an omnibus bill to replace the substitute bill. It stripped out the Senate's changes, which included allowing people with related degrees to be licensed social workers and lowering revenue to the licensing board. Smith said this effort successfully protected social work. 

“This is a direct result of your advocacy and the collective advocacy of NASW,” she said.

cover of February / March 2023 issue

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