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News Items – April 29, 2020

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Ashley Carter Youngblood and Kristi Karel are members:
Mental, physical risks pose challenges for medical workers amid COVID-19 crisis
Quarantines, shut-downs, and stay-at-home orders during the coronavirus disease 2019 crisis did not stop doctors, nurses and other medical care providers from working to save lives. But the consequence of putting themselves on the front lines of the pandemic could have negative impacts on their psychological and physical health. “I think we’re all just trying to figure out how to adapt even if we’ve been trained really well,” Ashley Carter Youngblood, a licensed clinical social worker in West Michigan, said.

Michelle Cauley is a member:
Mayor Garcetti speaks with LA’s leading therapist Michelle Cauley to discuss mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic
LA Sentinel
Founder and President of Cauley Associates, Michelle Cauley earned her Masters of Social Work from the University of Southern California. She also obtained the Pupil Personnel Services Credential with Child Welfare & Attendance, Administrative Services Credential, and Certificate in Applied Gerontology. Cauley is a member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). Michelle Cauely Joined Mayor Garcetti to discuss mental health. COVID-19 has made a strong impact on everyone’s mental state; Cauley explained anticipatory stress, depression, and anxiety that is on the rise.

Claire Lerner is a member:
Working from home with a baby or toddler is no picnic. Here’s how to make it more tolerable.
The Washington Post
Claire Lerner, a clinical social worker specializing in child development and parent guidance in Washington, agrees. “It’s a totally impossible situation to be a [work-from-home] parent of a very young child who cannot be expected to take care of themselves in any shape or form or play independently for any length of time,” she says.

Rick Fairbanks is a member:
On the Front Lines: Spokane hospice social worker focuses on patients, families despite coronavirus complications
The Spokesman-Review
Rick Fairbanks, a social worker at Hospice of Spokane, aims to create “heartfelt moments” for patients and their families as they move toward the end of their lives. Even with the coronavirus pandemic, “life and death continue to go on,” Fairbanks said. While Fairbanks has yet to care for a patient diagnosed with COVID-19, health care in general and hospice specifically look different these days. Fairbanks said he hopes to continue providing patients and their families with resources, support and guidance during this difficult time.

Nadine Bean is a member:
‘It’s a sinking ship’: COVID-19 deaths triple at state-run vets nursing home in Chester County as families clamor for information
The Philadelphia Inquirer
“They’re sitting ducks, the veterans,” said Nadine Bean, daughter-in-law of a 95-year-old World War II veteran who lives there. Bean, a clinical social worker, said families as a whole have been happy with their loved ones’ care, and the staff amenities at the five-star nursing home, which has a waiting list and is run by the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. But as the state agency scrambles to contain the coronavirus, the nursing home has concealed the true scope of the deaths and outbreak from vet center families.

Philly jail workers want judges to release more inmates because of coronavirus
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Three unions that represent thousands of workers at Philadelphia jails have taken the unusual step of calling for judges to reduce the jail population during the coronavirus pandemic. The unions — which in total represent about 2,500 corrections officers, subcontracted health-care workers, and social workers — say that releasing incarcerated people from jail is a “common sense” measure to help protect workers and the broader community from the coronavirus.

Essential workers are taking care of America. Are we taking care of them?
Every evening in many parts of the country, quarantined residents cheer for essential workers — doctors, nurses, and first responders — to thank them for their service. But the range of people we’re depending on to keep our economy going during the pandemic, take care of us and our loved ones, and keep us safe is much broader than that. The reality is that essential workers in the midst of the coronavirus crisis are fast food workers, social workers, cleaners, retail associates, transit workers, home health aides, and even those who provide support for victims of domestic violence. They’re often not highly paid individuals, and they’re risking their lives.

Gerontology students to reach out to isolated seniors
Sacramento State University
Sacramento State Gerontology students soon will make personal telephone calls to older Californians who are isolated by the coronavirus pandemic, part of a statewide effort to help vulnerable seniors cope with the crisis. The Social Bridging Project is a partnership among the Governor’s Office; state Department of Aging; United Airlines employees in San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles; volunteers trained in FEMA disaster response; and students studying Gerontology at Sac State. Other partners could be added in the coming weeks.

New Bill Pushes For Telehealth Coverage for Therapists, Social Workers
A new bill before Congress aims to expand the ranks of healthcare providers using telehealth during the Coronavirus pandemic to include, among others, physical and occupational therapists and social workers. The Emergency COVID-19 Telehealth Response Act, submitted last week by US Reps. Cindy Axne (D-IA), Troy Balderson (R-OH) and French Hill (R-AR), would expand Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement for physical and occupational therapists, clinical social workers, speech pathologists and audiologists.

[Video] Coronavirus News: NYC social workers stepping up to serve communities amid COVID-19 crisis
New York City social workers have stepped up to serve communities in need despite the lockdown surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. The CEO of Jewish Child Care Association (JCCA), Ron Richter, proudly touted the way his team has pivoted to working virtually in the midst of COVID-19. He says it hasn’t been easy, but necessary when you’re charged with providing care and services to some of the city’s most vulnerable.

Opinion: Essential Workers – All of Them – Deserve Bonus Pay
City Limits
When the $480-billion stimulus package was signed last week, hazard pay for essential workers was notably absent. A 50 percent bonus for essential workers requested by nonprofit agencies to echo Governor Cuomo’s proposal for front-line workers is both a noble and urgent call to action for the Federal government in this crisis.

Senate president, House speaker praise Justice’s reopening plan; progressive groups urge caution
Dominion Post
The other view comes in the form of a letter to Justice from the West Virginia Council of Churches, West Virginians for Affordable Health Care, the National Association of Social Workers West Virginia Chapter, West Virginia Citizen Action and West Virginia Working Families.

“FrontLine WarmLine” launches to help Maine’s health care workers and first responders manage emotional toll of COVID-19
News Center Maine
The FrontLine WarmLine is a joint effort of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Maine Department of Public Safety’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Maine Association of Psychiatric Physicians, The Opportunity Alliance, Maine Psychological Association, and the Maine Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.

Fearing increase in child abuse due to pandemic stressors, Austin-area foster organizations seek support
Community Impact Newspaper
“Right now in a very immediate sense, I think you’re going to have someone who maybe wanted to be a foster family saying, ‘Well, maybe now is not the time that I want someone to come into my home,’” said Will Francis, the executive director of the National Association of Social Workers’ Texas Chapter and a member of the Travis County Child Protective Services Board.

Amanda Gibson is a member:
[Video] At-Home Stress Management
Good Day Sacramento
As we are all adjusting to a new normal of staying inside, some of us may be experiencing some unwanted anxiety about social distancing and the current state of the world. Amanda Gibson a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and owner of The Counseling Collab, here in Sacramento ( is joining us via Skype to share some helpful tips as we navigate the new normal.

Manfred Melcher is a member:
Learning the meaning of ‘in this together’
Monterey Herald
“My daughter likens it to two tigers in a cage,” said Manfred Melcher, who holds a master’s in social work and is a  licensed clinical social worker. “What comes out of animals in captivity is empowerment and control. Couples in captivity can choose to be reactive – a heat-of-the-moment, attack mode – or responsive, which is a more mindful, reflective approach.” To get there requires a balance of boundaries, space, and togetherness, says Melcher, which asks for a delicate, fluid dance, where neither person dominates or becomes submissive, but instead, finds their own rhythm.

Kim Warner is a member:
The Advance Directive: Why Everyone Should Create One
Spectrum Local News
With COVID-19 affecting more and more of us each day, a conversation about preparing advance directives is becoming even more important. “Right now, all of us understand how fragile life is, how quickly things can change, and how advance directives can be really helpful to those who love us,” said Kim Warner, a licensed clinical social worker. She is encouraging us to think about those who will be asked to make decisions on our behalf. “It gives them the equipment, and the opinions of what I value, way before you have to talk about it emotionally,” she said.

Mary Ellen Dwyer is a member:
Mindfulness On Groundhog Day: Coping Skills For A Pandemic
Cape Cod Wave Magazine
“When I talk to people, we jokingly talk about how it’s Groundhog Day,” said Mary Ellen Dwyer, a clinical social worker with her own practice in mental health. Besides her private practice, Dwyer is also a volunteer with the Provincetown Covid-19 Task Force, which, among other things, offers a stress hotline for people to call who are feeling anxiety.

Sonyia Richardson is a member:
Feeling serious video chat fatigue? You can probably blame the ‘presence of absence’
“The phrase ‘presence of absence’ comes from a Portuguese word saudade,” says mental-health counselor Sonyia Richardson, LCSW. “It’s used to describe a deep state of heaviness and separation. So we’re on a call together, and we’re in the same space virtually, but there’s still an underlying pain of being physically separated.” Yep: The Portuguese, long ago, articulated the strange reality of being both virtually connected and physically apart from those you love during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Social Work Ethics During the Time of Pandemic
Social Work Helper
These questions are no longer reserved for intellectual debate during a professional ethics workshop. Today, for many social workers, they are real questions that must be answered now. NASW’s Office of Ethics and Professional Review responds to requests for ethics consultations from members facing tough ethical dilemmas related to the pandemic. This task is complicated by the fact that the rules are constantly changing.

Nothing Was The Same: 3 Reasons Post-COVID-19 Social Work Practice Is Never Going Back
The New Social Worker
Like so many, I have resorted to grappling with these impacts via a series of electronic memos, dizzying email chains, and a plethora of Zoom conferences and meetings. Recently, during one such meeting, I became involved in a discussion about what will happen once the pandemic subsides. Several participants, all social workers, discussed desires to get back to “normal.” One “yearned” for the time when “this is all over and things can go back to how they were before.”  At the risk of sounding insensitive to this expected human response, I need to make something clear: Things are not going back to the way they were.

Jennifer Wells is a member:
[Video] Connection Forged Through Resilience
TEDx Talks
Jennifer Wells, Executive Director of Our Future West Virginia, shares the resilience she has forged through experiencing tragedy in her own life and helping others recover and heal from tragedy as a social worker. Jennifer is a survivor of Hurricane Katrina and was among those sheltering and suffering in the Superdome. Unable to rebuild their lives in New Orleans, she and her family were relocated to West Virginia. She shares her story of perseverance and how the impact of her trauma has equipped her to serve the children and families of West Virginia, providing them with the necessary tools to overcome their circumstances.

U Michigan Expanding Online Programs in Public Health for the Fall
Campus Technology
The two new “MasterTrack” certificate programs will cover “sustainability and development” through the university’s School for Environment and Sustainability, and “social work: practice, policy and research,” through the School of Social Work. These are intended to serve as more affordable series of classes that lead to a certificate. In the case of the social work focus, that provides a more flexible path toward an accelerated master of social work degree.


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