Dean Nancy J. Smyth speaks at rally about social workers accompanying police on mental health calls

Nancy Smyth speaks at rally on steps of Buffalo City Hall.

Dean Nancy Smyth speaks at rally held on steps of City Hall in Buffalo, NY.

Photo courtsey of Ali Ingersoll - Investigative Post


Dean Nancy J. Smyth

Portrait of Nancy Smyth.

Published September 22, 2020

Dean Nancy J. Smyth expressed her views at a recent rally on social workers accompanying police to mental health calls, as Buffalo Police Department recently formed a Behaveioral Health Team. With the advent of this team, many social workers and mental health professionals wrote and signed a letter in protest, as well as came together on the steps of City Hall in Buffalo on September 17. 

Dean Smyth was quoted as saying that, like the police, social work has a long legacy of racism and supporting white supremeacy. "And, by white supremacy, I’m not talking about white supremacists. I’m talking about a structure of society and policies that puts white people in power and keeps others out. This isn’t about bad people. It’s about bad systems that need to be restructured.”

And when parterning social workers with police, she is concerned that social workers are often guests, and when you're a guest, one has to live by the rules of the host. "We cannot be helpful in a mental health situation where we have that conflict."

For more on this issue, you can find articles at The Buffalo News, WGRZ and WBFO, all of whom quoted Smyth.