In aftermath of school shooting, NASW Florida Chapter offers resources, action items social workers



Dear NASW Member,

The National Association of Social Workers – Florida Chapter (NASW-FL) offers its heartfelt condolences to the students, staff and families of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. We share your loss and grief at the senseless tragedy.

The outpouring of community support has been outstanding in providing support to the students, faculty, staff and families. The Broward County Public Schools are providing a BCPS Family Counselor from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Friday, February 16, call 754-321-HELP or 754-321-4357. You can also email

In addition, Henderson Mental Health Services is providing grief counselors for students on site at the following locations:  Pine Trails Park Recreation Center and Amphitheater, Coral Springs Gymnasium, Coral Springs Center for the Arts. For Marjory Stoneman Douglas staff members, grief counselors are available at Parkland Library.

The Attorney General Office of Victim Services is on the scene helping victims and their families with counseling services and funeral, burial and medical expenses. The NSU Family Therapy Clinic/Brief Therapy Institute is coordinating therapists to assist at sponsored crisis counseling locations. Please call 954-262-3030 to volunteer.

The needs of the community will be continuing over the coming weeks and months. Here are some action items that we can all do to be a part of the healing and change:

Don’t let hate win: As Social Workers we are uniquely positioned to help individuals channel their pain and fear into meaningful actions. As much as it is tempting to let anger take over, don’t let hate win. Sharing hateful comments and content that promotes more violence is not helpful. Our society has enough violence, let’s be part of sharing content and comments of hope, unity, help and change.

Speak up: Advocacy is key to creating change. In a world where we have more connection to a screen than to our neighbors it’s common to watch and not speak up. Speak up anyway. If you see something, say something.

 Join our CALL TO ACTION! Our state and country have the expertise and resources to develop a comprehensive response to end gun violence. Please contact your state representatives and senators. Also contact your congress persons and both senators. Please ask them to establish a state and/or a federal commission to address gun violence in Florida and America. Attached is a brief prepared by NASW: This Social Justice Brief “Gun Violence in American Culture” offers solutions to help lessen gun violence

Build connections: Get to know your neighbors, the more connected people are the harder it is for violence to win. See past differences and find common grounds to build a community. We are not independent, we are interdependent.

Take care of yourself and those you love: monitor how much information you’re taking in, hug those you love, nourish your mind, body and soul. And help those who are struggling to do the same.

As needs continue to arise and information is provided we will continue to provide resources and information to members of NASW Florida. Together we can stand strong, advocate for change, work towards healing and offer support.


Thank You,

Jim Akin, ACSW
NASW-FL Executive Director


  1. A dictionary definition of grief is…. Intense sorrow, especially caused by someone’s death Grief comes from a French word ‘Grever’ meaning ‘to burden’. We might, therefore, consider grief to be a burden that we carry.

  2. I mean no disrespect. I graduated with a master’s degree in social work and I was a licensed social worker in the state of New York. It has been over 17 years since I’ve been a stay-at-home mother. I NEVER hear about the NASW when it comes to advocating for more Social Work positions in our local communities. If there had been a case manager in the school in Florida, they would have had their eye on this kid years ago. I have done Frontline social work for years and Frontline volunteering. I’ve also held political positions. I honestly believe that are Nation has very little knowledge about what social workers do. I believe case managers are highly underrated. There are so many issues that individuals possess that affect their ability to live healthy lives in society. This also affects their ability to do their jobs. If therapy, social workers, case managers, etc we’re household words, our communities and our country would be far better off. Please let me know if you’d like my assistance in this goal of mine or let me know that this is not something that the NASW is willing to take up.

    • Thanks for offering to get involved in this issue. Have you contacted the NASW New York Chapter to see what they are doing? They are pushing legislation that would require each school have a social worker. Here is there contact information:

    • Hi Linda,
      I am from Michigan and I just posted the same as you did. What is going on here? In Michigan we have one county that there is a school social worker in every school elementary, middle and high school. Why is Florida so far behind on mental health and what we as social workers offer to schools? If you find out what we can do to get this going I would like to be involved.
      Thank you Linda for your posting.

  3. [2] Further, grief counselors believe that where such support is lacking, counseling may provide an avenue for healthy resolution. Grief counselors believe that grief is a process the goal of which is “resolution”. Grief counselors also believe that where the process of grieving is interrupted, for example, by the one who is grieving having to simultaneously deal with practical issues of survival or by their having to be the strong one who is striving to hold their family together, grief can remain unresolved and later resurface as an issue for counseling. Contents Counseling[edit] Grief counseling becomes necessary when a person is so disabled by their grief; and, so overwhelmed by their loss that their normal coping processes are disabled or shut down. [3] Grief counseling facilitates expression of emotion and thought about the loss, including their feeling sad, anxious, angry, lonely, guilty, relieved, isolated, confused, or numb.

  4. Access Archive Posts Access Archive Posts Written by AIHCP Admin at February 6, 2018 A good article with some thoughts on what grief is and why it is important although a negative experience.   Grief is the price of our love and social connections and we cannot survive without these connections but grief is also important in helping ourselves let go, to adapt and to also communicate to other social connections of our need of help in times of mourning Please review our Grief Counseling Certification Please also review our Grief Counseling Certification The article, Why is grief important? , by MEMBERS OF PENN STATE’S COUNSELOR EDUCATION GRIEF AND LOSS CLASS state “The following are reflections from a counselor education grief and loss class at Penn State on why grief is important.

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