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News Items – April 1, 2020

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$2 Trillion Coronavirus Relief Package Will Support Social Workers, Clients They Serve
Social Work Helper
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) commends Congress and the White House for passing into law the $2.2 trillion economic relief package that will provide aid to individuals, families and communities. “Our nation is experiencing unprecedented levels of psychological and economic devastation as a result of this public health crisis” said NASW CEO Angelo McClain, PhD, LICSW. “We applaud lawmakers and the Trump Administration for working quickly in a bipartisan way to bring relief to working class and middle-class Americans, many of whom are struggling to afford housing, food and health care during this pandemic.”

Rebekah Gewirtz, NASW-MA: As I See It: Social workers essential personnel, so why aren’t we talking about them?
Worcester Telegram
While the discussion of the role and importance of public health workers, such as doctors and nurses, on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic is important and warranted, we must not forget one other essential public health workforce: social workers. Important enough to be named essential personnel by Gov. Charlie Baker on March 23, yet social workers are left out of conversations about individuals and workforces providing essential services related to COVID-19.

Jill Lehmann-Bauer is a member:
Working harder in anxious times, mental health providers getting paid less for safer service
Des Moines Register
Jill Lehmann-Bauer counsels veterans, teachers, government employees and others who have a mix of mental health issues ranging from post-traumatic stress to anxiety to major depression. Typically, the therapist sees clients in her Clive office at Central Iowa Therapy Solutions. But some have COPD and other chronic lung disorders that make them more susceptible to coronavirus infection, so this week she began doing psychotherapy online to help lessen the spread of COVID-19. From her first session Monday, however, Lehmann-Bauer heard mixed messages about whether insurers would cover such telehealth mental health services.

Related story:
Wellmark to temporarily reimburse at 100% for telehealth services, including mental health
Business Record
Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield announced late Thursday that it will temporarily reimburse health care providers that provide services through telehealth — including mental health counselors — at the same rate as office visits. … The move to temporarily allow equal reimbursement for telehealth visits for the next 90 days is a particularly welcome one for counselors like Jill Lehmann-Bauer, who say the lower rate was unfair to her and other counselors who now must see patients on a virtual basis during the coronavirus crisis.

Maurya Glaude is a member:
7 steps to help doctors reduce stress during the COVID-19 outbreak
“As a licensed clinical social worker, I currently have telehealth clients from all professions, and some are frontline workers, namely practicing physicians,” Maurya W. Glaude, PhD, MSW, LCSW-BACS, professor of practice, Tulane University School of Social Work, New Orleans, LA, told MDLinx. “At the end of the day, we are all human. We are resilient beings, and yet we each respond to stress differently. We have our own thermometers for the activation of our fight-flight-freeze response.”

Coronavirus is roiling every part of child welfare system
The New York Times
For workers, widespread shortages of gloves, masks and other safety gear are raising concerns, said Angelo McClain, CEO of the National Association of Social Workers. “If a report comes in of a kid in danger, you need to go out and make sure that child is safe — but you need a face mask, gloves, sanitizer,” he said.

Pandemic keeps us physically distant but socially connected | Candace McKibben
Tallahassee Democrat
It seems ironic that in this month when we have coined phrases like “social distancing, self-quarantine, and self-isolation,” we are also celebrating the work of social workers in our nation. Social workers are social beings concerned with systems and connecting people with the persons and resources who can best help people help themselves.… Social workers can be found in hospitals, mental health facilities, clinics, recovery centers, prisons, nursing homes, schools and more. On the National Association of Social Workers website, there are eight areas of practice for social work including aging, behavioral health, child welfare, clinical social work, ethnicity and race, health, LGBT, and school social work.

America’s child welfare system was already failing. The pandemic could weaken it further.
“This is often a forgotten population — unless something horrific shows up in the news,” said Will Francis, the Texas chapter director of the National Association of Social Workers. “There are always weak points because the system itself has never had what it needs to make sure it’s strong across the board.” As the Covid-19 crisis progresses, welfare advocates worry that those weak points may turn into dangerous gaps that could seriously endanger children and the many service providers who care for them.

Cindy Milner is a member:
[Video] Experts give advice on how to cope during Stay-at-Home orders
“We’re wired for survival so our brain is going to go to the worst case scenario,” said Licensed Clinical Social Worker Cindy Milner. Milner uses a technique called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) to relax her clients. During EMDR, the person thinks of what’s causing their stress, while also focusing on something unrelated. “Sometimes we can know something, but feel very differently about it.  19:18 “It allows the rational brain to communicate with the emotional brain,” she said.

Jennifer Morgan-Binns is a member:
How to talk with our kids about COVID-19
Mount Desert Islander
Most importantly, when talking about COVID-19 with children, start by asking what they know about it, said Jennifer Morgan-Binns, a licensed clinical social worker. If possible, do so with a question that invites more than a yes or no answer in order to understand what information they have collected. Once they offer an answer, ask how they are feeling about the coronavirus. “Sometimes for young kids it’s good to draw,” said Morgan-Binns, who also suggests role playing with toys for the younger age group.

Katherine Schneider is a member:
Jewish Dating in the Time of COVID-19
Jewish Exponent
Katherine Schneider, a licensed clinical social worker based in East Falls, said parents who must now work from home and home-school their children may feel especially stressed. “For people with kids, there’s this pressure to be the perfect parent with homeschooling and Pinterest projects,” she said. “Sometimes making it through the day is an accomplishment enough. Give yourself permission to take
a break.”

Laura Jacobs is a member:
Trans surgeries postponed indefinitely amid coronavirus pandemic
While most health insurance carriers in the U.S. currently consider gender-affirming procedures to be “cosmetic” with over 30 states allowing providers to exclude transition-related care from coverage such a distinction is inaccurate, according to Laura A. Jacobs, a licensed clinical social worker, psychotherapist and board chair at Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, a New York-based LGBTQ health center. “For many trans folks, existing daily in a body that doesn’t match your sense of self isn’t just uncomfortable, it’s traumatic,” Jacobs explained. “There’s a lot of research that shows that delaying treatment for trans people increases levels of depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation.”

Brittany Peters is a member:
Brittany Peters: The effects of COVID-19 on minority mental health
The Weekly Challenger
For many black and brown people living in poverty, limited supplies, school closures, and required quarantines can contribute to depression and anxiety. While closures impact every American during this time of uncertainty, minorities and those living in poverty are affected more; as a result, many factors such as wage inequality.

Christina Garnett is a member:
[Video] Social worker: Stick to routine while social distancing to help manage your mental health
As you continue to practice social distancing, social workers want you to be mindful of your mental and emotional health for yourself and your children. Our routines and sense of normalcy has been shattered by COVID-19. Christina Garnett, a licensed clinical social worker, said we are social beings and not being able to go out can make up feel lonely, depressed, or even suicidal.

LGBTQ groups mark Transgender Day of Visibility through online campaigns
Metro Weekly
To participate, people are being asked to share a fun story, choreograph a dance, share a photo montage, or a list of “fierce” playlists on Instagram, Snapchat, Amino, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or TikTok. Among the people and organizations who are participating are songwriter Benjamin Scheuer, whose new song and video “I Am Samantha” debuts on March 31; actor Zach Barack, the first openly transgender performer in a Marvel movie; the National Association of Social Workers; and Athlete Ally.


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