Social Workers Mobilize in Wake of Hurricane Katrina

Gulf Region in Need of Social Work Professionals for its Citizens

Washington – In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, social workers from across the country are offering assistance to those impacted by the recent natural tragedy. In partnership with the American Red Cross, licensed mental health practitioners are gearing up to meet the urgent and ongoing need for disaster workers.

Social workers are the largest providers of mental health services in the country. Social workers also make up more than 40 percent of Red Cross mental health volunteers. They have the training and education to help victims of disasters to work through their grief and loss and to connect them to the resources they need to rebuild their lives.

NASW Chapters in the Gulf Region – Louisiana , Texas , Mississippi and Alabama – are seeking social workers to assist in those states. The Louisiana Chapter is organizing with the Louisiana State University School of Social Work and the Texas Chapter has put out a call for social workers who can respond to the needs of victims who have been transferred to Texas . Please visit for more information.

Social work experts in the fields of disaster relief and grief and loss are available to speak about the short-term and long-term implications of this kind of tragedy on individuals, families and communities. These experts include:

  • Mila Tecala, MSW – Mila is the Director for the Center for Loss and Grief in Washington , DC , as well as a private practitioner helping individuals and families through loss, grief and bereavement.
  • Joanne Caye, MSW – Joanne is a co-author of the critically important book When Their Worlds Fall Apart – Helping Families and Children Manage the Effects of Disasters. She is an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is an expert on helping disaster relief workers work through their own challenges.
  • Hal Lipton, MSW – Hal is the co-author of a useful guide for health professionals called Bereavement Practice Guidelines for Health Care Professionals in the Emergency Department. Hal is also a consultant to the American Trauma Society, where he creates training and educational materials to help families cope with trauma and death.
  • Meg Kallman O’Connor, LCSW – Meg is the author of the NASW policy statement on disasters, which appears in Social Work Speaks. This statement acknowledges the immediate and long-term effects of a disaster and guides social work practice to respond to such tragedies.

To speak with any of these social work experts in disaster and trauma, please contact NASW Communications by phone at 202-336-8228 or by e-mail at
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