The American Red Cross Needs Trained Volunteers for Hurricane Mathew Response

The Red Cross is implementing the direct deployment process initiative which means that only mental health professionals who are licensed at the master's level or higher DMH-eligible or DHS-eligible BUT are not currently Red Crossers are able to deploy.  Click below for more information....
Now Accepting 2017 APM Workshop Proposals.....
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New Job Listing......see Jobs & Annoucements
ATTN STUDENTS.....Now Accepting Student Posters...
visit Conference Page

 October 8 was the deadline to 'register' to vote!

Voter Eligibility in Mississippi
You must meet the following requirements to qualify for voter registration in Mississippi:
  • Be a U.S. citizen.
  • Be at least 18 years old by the next general election.
  • Be a resident of Mississippi and your county for at least 30 days (October 8 is the deadline).
  • NOT declared mentally incompetent by a court.
  • NOT convicted of a felony.

To verify your voter registration in MS, contact your local county registrar's office directly.

Change Your Voter Name or Address
To update your name or address on your MS voter registration, you must re-submit the Mississippi Voter Registration Application to the office of your county circuit clerk.

Mississippi Voter ID Laws                                               
On Election Day, you will be required to show photo identification at the polling place before you can vote.
If you cannot show your photo ID when requested, you must cast an affidavit ballot and return within 5 days with appropriate identification.

Presidential and other elections will be held Tuesday November 8, 2016!!!

Membership questions?  call or email:

 NASW Member Services 800-742-4089 M – F, 9:00 am – 9:00 pm ET

House Passes Mental Health First Aid Act

From our national NASW office....

 A program to train first responders, law enforcement and teachers to assist anyone in a mental health crisis would be extended through 2021 under a House bill approved Sept. 26.

The House approved by voice vote the Mental Health First Aid Act (H.R. 1877), which would direct the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to again award block grants for training programs in mental health first aid.

“The kinds of education programs that this legislation will provide funding for have been shown to be effective and efficient at teaching people the signs of mental illness and how to drop the stigma of that illness so that someone in need can get help,” Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) said in a statement.

The bill would authorize roughly $15 million per year for SAMHSA's mental health training program from 2017 to 2021.

The bill would expand grant eligibility for the SAMHSA program to include programs to train veterans and law enforcement on how to recognize and respond to persons with mental illness. The program previously only focused on teachers and emergency responders.

The Senate passed a similar bill (S. 1893) in January. The Senate version, introduced by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), focused on youth mental health services.

A spokesman for Jenkins told Bloomberg BNA lawmakers in the House and Senate hope to soon create a unified bill in conference they can send to the president.


NASW, MS Report On the MS Health Summit

On Friday July 22,2016, I had the pleasure to attend the Mississippi Health Summit on the campus of The University of Southern Miss, Hattiesburg, as the representative for the NASW MS chapter. I am happy to report that these are exciting times for the citizens of Mississippi with regards to healthcare.

The keynote speaker at this event was Dr. Mary Currier, State Health Officer for the MS Department of Health. Dr Currier spoke frankly about the state of health of the citizens of MS, and the extreme disparity that has become a reality in our state between those who are able to receive healthcare when needed and the populations that are not able to access insurance or healthcare resources. Dr Currier is passionate and sure of the course of action that is needed to ensure that all Mississippians are able to access resources to support great health for themselves and their families. One of the many concerns that she has for the state is the health of its children. She understands that childhood obesity, infant and fetal mortality and child abuse resulting from parental drug use, are some of the barriers to creating a culture of health that can resonate for generations of children.

I was particularly excited about the outlook for our profession in this plan for Mississippi’s healthcare. Since 2013, Dr Tim Rehner of the University of So. Mississippi’s School of Social Work and Michelle Brazeal, LCSW have partnered with Coastal Family Health Center (CFHC) of the Gulf Coast to pilot a program of Integrated Healthcare for the patient’s at CFHC’s Gulfport facility. This initiative seeks to improve the well-being of the patients by developing a collaborative, team based approach to healthcare that connects social workers, dieticians, therapeutic recreation specialist and medical providers.  This clinic serves the low income and indigent populations of the gulf coast area by providing an array of low cost health services. The Gulfport clinic employs physicians and nurse practitioners to treat pediatric and adult patient’s populations and has a comprehensive OB/GYN program to serve the needs of expectant mothers and women’s health. CFHC assist patients with medications, teaches diabetes management classes and even has a limited dental practice on site. Dr Rehner and LCSW Brazeal have begun a pilot program that is able to now address the mental health of the patient’s at CFHC by having combined LCSW’s into the clinics daily practice. The primary focus of the pilot program is to create a “one stop shopping” example for primary care providers throughout the state that reflects how mental health services can benefit not only their patient, but their overall medical practice. Enhancing integrated methods of healthcare is a win/win for patient’s doctors and social workers.

I must reiterate how encouraging it was to see so many professions coming together to address the health of Mississippians. After hearing the speakers at this event, I took away a feeling of hope and understanding that there are many professions that recognize the need for a healthier state. It is my hope for all of Mississippi, that we continue to seek new and modern approaches to closing the gap between those who can afford to be healthy and those who cannot, and that we continue to link people to systems, evaluate the effectiveness of current programs, assure competent care and continue to research new insights for innovative solutions. I could not be more proud of our state or our profession as I was on this day.

Warm regards,                                                                                                                                                   

Elizabeth B. Zimmerman, LMSW

 NASW MS Chapter was present at the rally at the Governor Mansion to advocate for repeal of HB 1523.  Social Workers want "NO HATE IN MY STATE"!

Pictured are Hank Rainer, Chapter President, Karen Selestak, Dave Sandefur, Janice Sandefur, Chapter ED, and Mary Ann Everett.


NASW says anti-LGBT laws must be vetoed, repealed

People in Chapel Hill, N.C. protest against the state's Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act. Photo courtesy of TV Guide.

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is both dismayed and disappointed by the legislative actions taken by Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee to deny equal treatment of LGBT individuals and families.  The following is a brief summary of each law:

Mississippi Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act (HB 1523)

The stated purpose of the law is to protect from discrimination claims anyone who believes that marriage is between one man and one woman, that sexual relations are reserved solely for marriage, and that the terms male and female pertain only to a person’s genetics and anatomy at birth. The law allows individuals (including those working in publicly funded courts and services), businesses, and religious organizations to use religion to discriminate against LGBT persons and their families.  Examples range from the right to refuse marriage certificates refusing to employ a person and/or rent or sell a person property.  Also, medical professionals can refuse to provide health care if a patient seeks treatment, counseling and surgery related to “sex reassignment or gender identity transitioning[1].

Tennessee LGBT Anti-Counseling Legislation (SB-1556)

The Tennessee anti-LGBT law declares that no person providing counseling or therapy services (in private practice) shall be required to counsel or serve a client as to goals, outcomes, or behaviors that conflict with a sincerely held religious belief of the counselor or therapist. Furthermore, the bill provides immunity from liability for counselors and therapists who refuse to counsel a client when doing so is in conflict with a sincerely held religious belief of the counselor or therapist.

North Carolina Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act ( HB DRH40005-TC-1B)

The North Carolina Facilities Privacy and Security Act, which was passed by the North Carolina legislature, requires schools and public agencies to have gender-segregated bathrooms and to prevent people from using a bathroom that doesn’t correspond to their biological sex.  Further, the law states individuals cannot bring any civil action based upon the state’s employment or public accommodation nondiscrimination protections.  It states that cities and counties are prohibited from writing non-discrimination ordinances that protect LGBT people or veterans.  This trend in legal discrimination is growing, with  13 other states  considering similar legislation.

NASW Position

NASW believes that these laws, passed under the guise of “religious freedom” or to “protect children,” must be vetoed or repealed.  Taken separately or collectively, all three laws are objectionable and are an affront to the progress we have made toward protecting the civil and human rights of all Americans.

While NASW respects diversity of many types, various freedoms and rights are subject to reasonable limitations and religious expression does not automatically trump other legitimate interests.[2]   NASW has joined allied mental health provider groups to voice concern that such laws violate their professions’ policies and the NASW Code of Ethics. NASW believes that discrimination and prejudice dir­ected against any group is damaging to the so­cial, emotional, and economic well-being of the affected group and of society as a whole.

[1] CNN News  April 16, 2016.  Retrieved from:

[2] NASW  Legal Issue of the Month.  Provider Refusal and Conscious Clause Controversies.

For more information on this issue contact NASW Senior Policy Associate Evelyn Tomaszewski at

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