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News Items – August 26, 2020

news items logo oneJonathan Singer is a member:
Suicide prevention has a systemic racism problem. Here’s how to fix it.
Jonathan Singer, president of the AAS and an associate professor of social work at Loyola University Chicago, argues that the field ignores the role of race and racism. The work of suicide prevention is “grounded in the assumption that people live in a world that believes their life matters,” says Singer, who is white. Many people of color, however, do not see that world as their own. “On a practical, daily level [society] gives explicit and implicit messages that it’s white lives that matter and not Black lives or brown or Indigenous lives.”

Johanna Thomas is president of NASW-AR:
Voices varied during Fayetteville school resource officers discussion
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Johanna Thomas, president of the Arkansas chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, said when school resource officers arrest students of color disproportionately, the result is a cumulative disadvantage. Cumulative disadvantage is when children have contacts with the criminal justice system, which increases the likelihood of future interaction with the system, Thomas said. “When a child is known in school, then they become known in the community and then they become known in the criminal justice system and we label them,” she said. “Those become self-fulfilling prophecies for many of our students. This happens far more often for children of color.”

NASW-SC is mentioned:
New report finds Trump administration ‘intentionally harms’ LGBTQ children
The American Independent
The South Carolina chapter of the National Association of Social Workers sent a letter to Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal after the waiver had been granted explaining that it would go against the best interest of children by not providing them with the full range of homes available to them. This was particularly true in the case of LGBTQ children, it said, since they could be placed in a foster home that does not support them. “Foster children who identify as LGBTQ are especially vulnerable as a result of this ruling; they are at risk of placement in a home that stigmatizes or condemns them, affecting their self-esteem, self-worth, and mental health,” the group wrote.

Lisa Smith is a member:
Alumna takes action to aid her community during COVID-19 pandemic
Colorado State University
As a social worker, solving problems to help others comes naturally to Lisa Smith (BSW, ‘13). “I am a social worker. We are the helpers of the world,” Smith said. “We are not meant to sit around and do nothing. That isn’t who we are. During a pandemic, this rings true more than ever.” The Colorado State University School of Social Work alumna and Air Force veteran had been working with Team Rubicon, a nonprofit in Arvada connecting veterans with first responders to deploy emergency response teams, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Chase Holleman is a member:
Pandemic leads to disconnect for some struggling with addiction, including 24-year-old Greensboro woman who fatally overdosed in July
Raleigh News & Record
Data tracked by N.C. Detect reveals 172 opioid overdose emergency department visits in Guilford County through June, compared to 164 at the same time last year. Across the state, 824 emergency department visits have been tracked this year, up from 641 during the same time last year. The data, however, likely undercounts the problem, said Chase Holleman, program coordinator for Guilford County Solution to the Opioid Problem. “I think the majority of folks are refusing transport after overdose,” said Holleman, who has been in recovery for over seven years.

Andrea Parsons is a member:
How to Meditate: A Simple Guide to 10-Minute Meditation
“Meditation is the practice of intentionally awakening to our thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations in the mental space of observance and acceptance,” says Andrea Parsons, M.S.W., L.C.S.W., a psychotherapist in both private practice and at one of the nation’s largest HMO. “Meditation asks us to be the observer of our thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations rather than the critic of them.”

Sage Grazer is a member:
25 Strategies for Finding Joy Even When It’s Hard, According to Therapists
“It’s easy for us to feel consumed by the powerful negative thoughts and emotions in our lives,” explains Sage Grazer, LCSW, co-founder and chief clinical officer of Frame, a new mental health platform providing free resources and therapist-matching technology. “We’re wired for survival, and that often includes a hyper-awareness of things that are painful, uncomfortable, or distressing. This is intended to serve as a way to protect us and be vigilant for those potential threats to our survival, but it also leaves us in a state of rumination on pain and distress.”

Jan Struyde is a member:
Man remembers wife’s courage as she faced COVID-19
Newburyport Daily News
Jan Struyde lost his wife to COVID-19 in July after 33 years of marriage and wants people to know about her courage and that of her caregivers. “She was my mentor, she was my hero, she was my everything,” Struyde said of his wife, Deborah Sheridan, 65. “Her doctor was so pregnant that she went out on maternity leave the day that my wife died,” he added. “But she still took the risks. She still applied herself 100% and I would bet all of the ICUs everywhere else are all the same. We need to understand that these people are real heroes and we are blessed to live in the Boston area.”

Debra Gayman is a member:
Rock painters find role with inspiring messages
The Republic
The founding members took an idea that had sprung up in other cities and started painting small rocks with uplifting messages and images, placing them outdoors for people to find around Columbus. Besides Federle, a former teaching assistant, the other six founding members are Margaret Tunny, a group home counselor; Susan Boxler, a college professor; Carrie Green, a chemist; Trisha Heathcote, a math teacher; Billie Park, a kindergarten teacher and Realtor; and Debra Gayman, a licensed clinical social worker.

NASW-WV is mentioned:
WV foster parents aren’t being given final say on whether kids return to classrooms
The Herald-Dispatch
“Because the foster family is putting their family at risk, they are the one that should be able to make this decision and, if they need help, they can reach out for it,” said Marissa Sanders, director of the WV Foster, Adoptive & Kinship Parents Network. She’s also a former foster parent who has now adopted. The WV United Coalition — which includes Sanders’ group and others, such as the NAACP’s Charleston branch and the state chapter of the National Association of Social Workers — wrote a letter last week to Gov. Jim Justice asking him to change the policy.

Pittsburgh social workers feel effects of synagogue shooting one year later
One-third of staff at social services agencies working in Pittsburgh in the aftermath of the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue reported suffering from mental health issues a year later, according to a study published Tuesday by JAMA Network Open. The study, researchers said, shows the continued effects of shooting events among people who are not witnesses or survivors of an attack, but have worked with them. Among more than 150 social workers surveyed a year later — 11 people were killed in the Oct. 27, 2018, shooting — 24% indicated they misused alcohol and 20% said they had symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, the data showed. In addition, 19% reported having symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, while 10% said they were clinically depressed.

Mitch Leppicello is a member:
[Video] Back to School Week: Returning to learning for those on the autism spectrum
Mass Appeal
Parenting and care giving of a child or young adult with ASD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, needs more than traditional parenting skills. As we begin our back-to-school week of information, Mitch Leppicello, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, is here to share his expertise on ways of returning to learning for those on the Autism Spectrum.

Kyle Hillman is director of Legislative Affairs with NASW-IL:
Home Alone for Remote Learning?
Alton Daily News
Kyle Hillman, director of legislative affairs at the National Association of Social Workers, Illinois Chapter, said it is legal to leave a minor home alone during the workday because of the phrase “for an unreasonable period of time” in the state law. “Under Illinois law, that is perfectly legal to leave that child home alone as long as it’s a reasonable amount of time and you took care of their health and wellbeing,” he said. Hillman said he opposed Sosnowski’s bill. He said the bill removes a weapon in a prosecutor’s arsenal to properly punish negligent parents. A better solution, he said, would be for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to clarify what is safe and what isn’t safe.

Tammer Attallah is a member:
Children’s safety advocates launch “Talk to Tweens”
“Talking about emotional health might be an uncomfortable topic for some. But starting small, and having frequent conversations, will build confidence for parents and tweens alike,” said Tammer Attallah, LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) and Pediatric Behavioral Health Community Services Director, Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital. The hospital launched the program today at Attallah is a father of a 13-year-old himself.

Renita Shores-Gaston is a member:
[Audio] ‘What Happens Here, Stays Here’ – Should More Black People Seek Therapy?
Northern Public Radio
Renita Shores-Gaston, of Resilience Counseling, is a licensed clinical social worker in Rockford. She said she remembers what she heard as a child. “And growing up, you know, like a lot of parents will say to their kids like, ‘what happens here, stays here. You don’t be telling people our business,’” Shores-Gaston said. “And so what is counseling [but] where you go somewhere and tell all your business?” she asked.

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