2017 NASW, MS Annual Conference March 29-31, 2017  Visit the Conference Page for details..
PASSING.....We are saddened to report the passing of a great leader in Mississippi social work, Geraldine Parish. Gerry died Sunday, November 6 at her home.  Services will be held at Phalti Baptist Church, 880 Clem Rd. Prentiss, MS.  Visitation will begin at 9:00 am to 11:00 am, funeral service at 11:00 am, with burial immediately following in the adjacent church cemetery.   
Gerry was known and loved by many social work students and faculty at the University of Southern Mississippi for many years.  During the years that USM had the only MSW program in the state, many Mississippi students usually met Ms. Parish first when interested in a career in social work.  She was the guiding light for many MSW students during that time. She will be fondly rememberd and greatly missed.
Cards may be sent to her family, Mr. & Mrs. Travis Langley, 908 Clem Road, Prentiss, MS.  More information may be obtained at Saulters-Moore Funeral Home, 601-792-4229.  

NASW Statement on Donald J Trump Election as 45th U.S. President

Association urges President-Elect to help heal divisiveness, trauma from his campaign


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) congratulates Donald J. Trump on his election to become the 45th president of the United States.

The Association is deeply concerned by statements Mr. Trump has made regarding women, people of color and immigrants. At the same time, we acknowledge we must work with the new administration to address pressing issues of the day, including justice reforms, racial and gender inequality, access to health care for all, and helping more Americans achieve economic self-sufficiency and stability.

The NASW Code of Ethics makes clear the importance of social justice. We cannot support any efforts to marginalize or oppress any group of people, and will always work to assure that human rights extend to everyone. Social workers continue to strongly advocate for our country’s most vulnerable populations.

President-Elect Trump has said he is committed to restoring economic prosperity to the United States, helping more Americans afford care for their children and relatives who are older adults, and providing more services to our nation’s brave veterans and their families. We hope to build on these commonalities to move our country forward and will hold Mr. Trump accountable for his promises.

We also urge Mr. Trump and his administration to help heal the divisiveness and trauma his campaign has caused among some communities and populations.  NASW, the largest professional social work association in the world with more than 125,000 members, is ready to help ensure these actions are done in a socially responsible and unifying manner.

NASW firmly supports our nation’s efforts to move forward in a positive way that acknowledges the inherent dignity and worth of all people.  Specifically, NASW will work to ensure that President-Elect Trump appoints justices to the U.S. Supreme Court and judges to the Circuit Courts of Appeals and lower Federal District Courts who come from diverse gender and ethnic backgrounds and will protect the rights of all citizens.

Lastly, NASW congratulates Democrat nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton for her years of service. Mrs. Clinton has a long history of working for positive social change in areas of importance to social workers, including health care reform; the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP); HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment; reproductive rights for women; racial justice and equal rights for people who are LGBT.

We share Mrs. Clinton’s hope for the future.  Everyone deserves the chance to pursue and achieve their dreams.  As Mrs. Clinton said in her concession speech, “let’s do all we can to keep advancing the causes and values we all hold dear; making our economy work for everyone not just those at the top, protecting our country and protecting our planet and breaking down all the barriers that hold any American back from achieving their dreams.”

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October 7, 2016 

Steve Sitting Bear 

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe 

External Affairs Director 

PO Box D, Bldg #1, N. 

Standing Rock Ave 

Fort Yates ND, 58538 

Dear Mr. Sitting Bear: 

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) supports protests by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in response to the Dakota Access Pipeline Project, which intends to run the pipeline through tribal lands. Because the pipeline could endanger the Standing Rock Sioux’s drinking water and the water accessed by many other people downstream, the tribe says the pipeline violates the social justice principles of environmental justice. 

NASW agrees with and supports the Standing Rock Sioux on their struggle to protect their environment. Far too often the exposure to environmental hazards of people of color is ignored for the sake of economic expediency. Environmental hazards from oil spills in particular have been well documented. 

The Tribal Council has legal jurisdiction to approve projects like the pipeline, yet their decision seems to have been ignored, which is unacceptable. The land in question was officially designated as a reservation in 1889. More important, the tribal government maintains jurisdiction on all reservation lands, including all rights-of-way, waterways, watercourses, and streams running through any part of the reservation. Therefore, it is understandable that when permission was given by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to move forward with the project, the Standing Rock Sioux vigorously protested. 

It is heartening that the Obama administration intervened and stopped construction on federal land. We also think that the administration made a right decision in requiring the Corps of Engineers to reexamine its original conclusions that led it to approving the pipeline. It is our hope that they will closely confer with the Standing Rock Tribal Council in that reexamination. 

However, the administration’s decision is a temporary pause in the pipeline construction. NASW stands with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in asking for a permanent end of building the pipeline on their ancestral lands. 


Heidi McIntosh, MSW 

Deputy Director, Programs

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.  More updates to follow.





Social workers are aware that discrimination is linked to social issues such as poverty, institutional racism, classism, etc., and can lead to violent activity. We ask that you see the article on our Newsletter page regarding HB 1523 from the 2016 Legislative session.  While this bill was successfully blocked by federal court action before going into effect July 1, the Governor has just asked for the Court of Appeals to review and overturn this ruling.  Please continue to monitor this action through advocacy groups, and answer Calls to Action.  You can contact Court of Appeals Judge in your district to express you concerns, contact your legislators, and other state officials.  Be ready for action to stop this overt discrimination.

NASW MS Chapter was present at the May 2016 rally at the Governor's 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

P. O. Box 5599, Pearl, MS, 39288 | 601.936.0557

(©2016 National Association of Social Workers-Mississippi Chapter. All Rights Reserved.)

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