NASW is mandated by its own code of ethics to be there for those in need. Sadly, it seems that those in need are defined as those who fit the narrative of political correctness. Men and boys don’t fit that narrative and simply need not apply. I could give you numerous examples but here is a start:
I was reading the NASW News a national monthly publication for NASW and noticed an article on suicide. I was aware of NASW’s past history of focusing on girls and suicide even though 80% of completed suicides are males. I read the article and found that there was no mention of men and boys being the vast majority of those completing suicide. I wrote the author a letter which he was kind enough to print in the May edition. Here’s the letter to the editor: (bold text was in the original letter but omitted by NASW)
– I just read your article on suicide in the NASW News. I am both saddened and shocked that there was no mention of the fact that males comprise 80% of those who complete suicide. 80%. Jut imagine for a minute that some other malady had 80% of the victims be female or black or just about any other demographic. Under those circumstances the article would have likely featured entire sections on this or that group that face the bulk of the problem. The least they would have done would be to call attention to the group most impacted. Why not so with men? Sadly this is not a new problem. NASW has been ignoring men as victims of suicide for many years having sponsored research on the suicide of women even though women are a fraction of those who actually complete suicide.
The obvious importance of the 80% stat is that men comprise a group that is unlikely to seek help in traditional settings. If people are very serious about wanting to help with suicide they had better start figuring out what might help men and how to attract men to treatment. At this point we are failing miserably and that is important for Social Workers to know. Finland was the world’s first country to take actions to help men and they have had considerable success. Australia is starting to work in that direction. The US is a Neanderthal with the media blacking out this important bit of information.
It is an embarrassment to me that NASW maintains such a sexist and misandrist attitude towards men and their difficulties. NASW was at the forefront of creating a White House Council on Women and Girls but when NASW was approached about supporting a proposed White House Council on Boys and Men they at first said they would look into it, but failed in ever responding, even after being prompted. Many wonder why there are not more men in Social Work. It seems clear enough to me.
I wrote a report on men and suicide when I served as the vice chairman of the Maryland Commission for Men’s Health. If you have any interest you can see the official version here (appendix D): http://dlslibrary.state.
Tom Golden is the author or three books, Swallowed by a Snake: The Gift of the Masculine Side of Healing, The Way Men Heal, and Helping Mothers be Closer to Their Sons: UnderStanding the Unique World of Boys. Tom was the creator of the youtube channel Men Are Good and served as the vice chairman of the Maryland Commission for Men’s Health. He has been a therapist in private practice for over 30 years.