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News Items – December 2, 2020

news items logo oneLynn Stanley is executive director of NASW-NH:
Letter: We must do more to help homeless
Concord Monitor
Rousting and displacing people who are homeless without a clear plan for where they are going and support services is unconscionable. While tents on the courthouse lawn may not be attractive, it is nothing compared to the ugliness of a society that does not fully support the people, organizations, and systems available to help those who need a hand up. Spending money on fencing and cameras is an interesting choice. It sadly indicates our priorities. The people of New Hampshire are not blind to the political one-upmanship taking place to the detriment and serious harm to our most vulnerable communities.

Detroit leader William Pickard creates five scholarships in Wayne State University School of Social Work
Wayne State University
Successful entrepreneur, philanthropist and Detroit leader William F. Pickard, Ph.D. has pledged $250,000 to support scholarships in the Wayne State University School of Social Work. An initial gift of $150,000 will create five scholarships, and a future gift of $100,000 will endow the scholarships and make them permanent. The scholarships will be available to undergraduate and graduate social work students who attend full or part time. Students must be active members of the Association of Black Social Workers Detroit chapter or the Wayne State chapter.

Okpara Rice is a member:
Iowans must fight again for state support of mental health services
Des Moines Register
“We have to keep this momentum forward,” said Okpara Rice, CEO of Tanager Place. The social-service agency supports about 3,000 children and their families in Linn and Johnson counties and southeast Iowa. “That means we need to continue to listen to voices, people need to continue to hold legislators accountable, they need to hold us accountable. We need to make sure that this continues to be an important part of what we say we want to do to build the best state we can to help kids be healthy.”

Rebekah Gewirtz is executive director of NASW-MA:
Social workers discuss health care inequalities on ‘vulnerable populations’ post-election
The Daily Free Press
Rebekah Gewirtz, executive director of the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, said racial equality in public health must be tackled in the next few years. Gewirtz said there are six crucial policy areas: criminal justice, economics, education, environment, health care and politics. She shared a number of examples of policy change, such raising welfare grant advocacy, making early education affordable and enacting a Massachusetts Green New Deal.

Jennifer FitzPatrick is a member:
How Social Distancing Harms The Elderly
Social distancing meant to protect the elderly from COVID-19 can do tremendous harm to their mental health. Caregiving expert Jennifer L. FitzPatrick, LCSW-C, CSP and a gerontology instructor at Johns Hopkins University said, “The risk is tremendous.  While social distancing itself does not necessarily cause or exacerbate mental health conditions, loneliness and social isolation do.” FitzPatrick, the author of Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring for Your Loved One said the uncertainty of the pandemic is especially difficult.

Kaitlin Kindman is a member:
15 Signs Your Friendship Is Seriously One-Sided
Women’s Health
“If a friendship is off-balance, one person takes up too much space and the other person takes up too little,” says Kaitlin Kindman, LCSW, practice director and co-founder of Kindman & Co. in Los Angeles. “The person taking too little space rarely, if ever, gets what they’re needing from the friendship, and one or both parties aren’t able to truly be themselves.”

Jim Deutch is a member:
Villages caregivers give their all for loved ones
The Villages Daily Sun
Caregivers making time for their own health and hobbies is essential for both the caregiver and the loved one, said Jim Deutch, a licensed clinical social worker and volunteer with Transition Life Consultants. “That is the bottom line, no matter what the disease is or the stage it’s in,” he said. “If the caregiver is unable to give, what’s going to happen to the loved one?” Deutch, of the Village Santiago, co-leads a group with TLC called ‘What About Me?” The group offers support to people who are caring or have cared for someone battling cancer.

Lynn Pittman is a member:
The psychology of masks: Many factors may influence whether people take virus precautions
The Republic (Columbus, IN)
As the pandemic stretches into the winter, there also are concerns that “pandemic fatigue” may intensify during the colder months, said Lynn Pittman, a licensed clinical social worker at Sandcrest Family Medicine. “At least in the summer, people were able to get out and ride their bike or walk around the block and things like that where they can at least get some fresh air,” Pittman said. “When it’s colder (they may) be more hesitant to do that.”

Ana Velez is a member:
Virtual holiday gatherings, religious services connect seniors during the holidays
Pocono Record
“Thank God we have the technology and still have access to see and talk to our loved ones,” Ana Velez, a licensed clinical social worker based in Gilbert, said. At her West End practice, a high percentage of her clients are over the age of 55, an age group more at risk from developing severe medical complications from COVID-19. While most know how to use video conferencing, she occasionally has to get the family involved.

Nikki Pagano is a member:
Anxiety is contagious, but so is compassion: Long-term mental health and COVID-19
The Charlotte Observer
Compassion when looking at the unique experience of every individual and how COVID-19 has impacted their life is important to consider when predicting the long-term impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. “I don’t think the long-term mental health effects will be the same for everyone because we’ve all been uniquely impacted by COVID,” said Nikki Pagano, a licensed clinical social worker in Charlotte.

Shari Botwin is a member:
Alone for the holiday? 6 ways to beat the isolation
Shari Botwin, a licensed clinical social worker in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and author of “Thriving After Trauma: Stories of Living and Healing,” treats many patients over the age of 70. The pandemic, she said, has been difficult for them. “This is triggering a lot of old traumas, losses and grief,” Botwin told TODAY. “Also, with being in a vulnerable population, elderly people can be so fearful of getting sick that they can take it a little too far. They’ll say, ‘I’m already 75 and I have all these underlying conditions. What if I go outside and get COVID?’ That made sense back in March and April when we knew so little about COVID, but we know now that you cannot get it by merely taking a walk (if you take the recommended precautions), but often people are still scared to go outside.”

Gabrielle Faggella is a member:
Dealing with OCD in a COVID world
The Canton Repository (OH)
Gabrielle Faggella, a clinical social worker in Fairlawn, agreed. Faggella is president-elect of  OCD Midwest, an affiliate of the International OCD Foundation, and she’s treated OCD clients for 20 years at her Palladium Counseling practice. “In OCD, there’s a true sense of panic and desperation,” she said. It’s a cycle that makes sufferers develop compulsions, such as washing their hands every five minutes to alleviate anxiety and provide a source of relief and comfort, even if short-lived.

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