The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is pleased to recognize our nation’s Service Members and Veterans this Memorial Day, May 27, 2013. While we encourage all social workers to recognize the efforts of these brave Americans on a daily basis, this is a special time to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. It is also a time to recognize the losses faced by many in the military and Veteran community.
NASW is committed to supporting the health and well-being of our nation’s Service Members, Veterans, and their loved ones. The primary mission of the social work profession is to enhance human well-being and help meet the needs of all people, and this includes the men and women who have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, who have made great sacrifices in order to protect us and advance liberty, freedom, and democracy.
This Memorial Day, we encourage all social workers to learn more about, or reach out to, a Service Member, Veteran, or their loved one. Opportunities to help include:
White House Joining Forces Initiative (http://www.whitehouse.gov/joiningforces): Joining Forces is a comprehensive national initiative to mobilize all sectors of society to give our Service Members and their families the opportunities and support they have earned. Learn about volunteer opportunities and how you can support this important work.
Give An Hour: (www.giveanhour.org) Give an Hour is a national nonprofit organization providing free counseling and other mental health services to members of the military, Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, and their loved ones. Licensed clinical social workers are encouraged to donate one hour of their time to provide therapy to those in need.
National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization: (www.nhpco.org) NHPCO is the largest nonprofit membership organization representing hospice and palliative care program and professionals in the United States. Individuals in need can utilize their grief and loss information (caringinfo.org/grief) or call the HelpLine at 1-800-658-8898. In addition, NHPCO has a “We Honor Veterans” initiative (www.wehonorveterans.org).
US Department of Veteran Affairs (http://www.va.gov/opa/speceven/memday/): Learn more about the history and meaning of Memorial Day. VA also established a social work department in the VA in 1926 and is currently the largest employer of Master’s level social workers in the nation (http://www.socialwork.va.gov/).
NASW Standards for Social Work Practice with Service Members, Veterans and Their Families: This document provides basic education on the skills and expertise necessary to work with this population. View the Standards today: http://www.socialworkers.org/practice/military/documents/MilitaryStandards2012.pdf
NASW’s free online five-course training module: This webinar series will be available for all social workers to prepare to work with, or enhance their knowledge on the needs of, Service Members, Veterans, and military families. This training module in the next month and can be found at www.naswwebed.org.
NASW’s professional credential: This credential for social workers who primarily work with Service Members, Veterans, and their families and will be offered free for one year to all qualified NASW members. This credential will be available in the coming months.
We’ve also launched a webpage with resources and information for social workers. You can learn more at www.socialworkers.org/military.asp.