Official Statement from the National Organization for Human Services: COVID-19

As the global population and our local communities begin to grasp the gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic, the rapidly developing situation can feel overwhelming, anxiety-inducing, or even make us wonder whether we should believe the histrionics. The National Organization for Human Services re-certifies that NOHS advocates for health, wellness, and self-care across the lifespan and regardless of socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, citizenship status, sexual orientation, gender identification, religion, or any other demographic or status. 

As any epidemic—medical or otherwise—does, the greater the number of risk factors and vulnerabilities a person has in their everyday life magnifies the risk of harm during an epidemic.  Human service professionals are explicitly responsible for protecting and advocating for vulnerable populations. Examples of populations who may be at heightened risk for COVID-19 and its effects are as follows, though this is by no means a comprehensive list:

  • People aged 65 and above are uniquely at risk of major symptoms, and we should be taking steps to support such families.

  • Anybody who has compromised respiratory capacity will also be more susceptible to moderate, severe, or critical symptoms. 

  • Language barriers have historically prevented effective warnings to non-English speakers. 

Please assure your clients and community members that  the pandemic is real, and people should make sure they get updated information from reliable sources, such as the  CDC, the WHO or similar sources that are fact based and led by experts in the field of epidemiology.  This is a time when getting factual information and staying updated as new information is shared is critically important. The COVID-19 pandemic is real, and we have an ethical responsibility as human service professionals to dispel rumors as they can be especially dangerous to  vulnerable populations that we as Human Services Professionals provide support for everyday. Our job as Human Service Professionals is to support people in preparing and help them avoid panic. 

We also have the ethical responsibility to care for ourselves adequately and appropriately on a regular basis (see Standard 35). Work with your professional and personal relations to set boundaries that enable you to follow CDC guidelines while feeding your holistic self, including your psychological,social and financial needs. 

NOHS’s Executive Board encourages you to continue your advocacy work through the COVID-19 pandemic on behalf of yourself, your community, and the vulnerable populations who are most at risk during this time!  We applaud your work and commitment communities across the country during this unprecedented public health emergency.