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News Items – December 9, 2014

Alone for the holidaysThe author, Alphonso Gibbs, is a member & former NASW staffer:
10 tips for dealing with holiday depression
Westside Today
The six weeks encompassing Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s—collectively called “the holidays”—are for most a magically unique time of year. But for many, the holidays bring hurt. Caused by factors including the weather, separation, death, stress, unrealistic expectations, hyper-sentimentality, guilt, or overspending, holiday depression—also called the “holiday blues”—can zap the merriment out of even the most wonderful time of the year. Holiday depression affects one million people every year. Men and women, young and old, all fall victim to feelings of sadness, loneliness, anxiety, guilt, and fatigue during this emotionally charged season. Men’s Health Network offers the following 10 suggestions to help you identify and ward off—or at least better cope with—potential sources of holiday depression.

Gail Steketee is a member:
Confessions of a hoarder: How to let go of stuff
The Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA)
Nip it now, because research shows that left unchecked a saving problem becomes a clutter problem which turns into a hoarding habit, which requires professional help to unpack, said hoarding expert Gail Steketee, professor of social work at Boston University and co-author of two books on hoarding.

Poverty in America simulation challenges views on public assistance
Indiana State University Newsroom
On Nov. 13, the Department of Social Work invited the public up to the third floor of the Hulman Memorial Student Union for a simulation of poverty. However, instead of showcasing the efficiency of Terre Haute Agencies, they sought to highlight the obstacles faced by those in poverty in order to challenge participants’ perceptions of those on assistance.… In order to give participants a truer-to-life experience, agencies were scattered around the third floor of Hulman Memorial Student Union and were only “open” on intervals. In such cases, focusing on a different agency while awaiting the opening of another agency was nearly impossible, due to many agencies pre-requiring each other. This creates a step-ladder effect, and the inconvenience it causes to some in the real world (where agencies can be miles away from each other) can be minor or devastating depending on one’s severity of need.

Susan Grettenberger is a member:
Religious Freedom Restoration Act Passes in Michigan House
Inquistr
Hill is joined by other detractors including Susan Grettenberger, a Central Michigan University professor and social worker. Grettenberger said the religious freedom bill could have seriously harmful consequences, and gave an example of a social worker who refused to counsel people based on religious beliefs that didn’t support homosexuality. “Social workers who are opposed to war on religious ground could refuse to serve military members,” she said. “If their religion excludes the use of alcohol, they could refuse a client with substance abuse problems.”

The author, Megan Rapien, is a member:
Burning bridges alter relationships, take work to rebuild
The Daily Times
“Don’t burn a bridge with me and then expect me to send a boat!” — Unknown. Bridges are connections. They are those things that bond us. Bridges are usually constructed of strong materials — steel, concrete, stone or wood. Their strength may be compromised over time by forces of nature. The bridges between us are the common interests that we share. Our words and actions can be as damaging, and ultimately destructive, to our relationships as forces of nature can be to a physical structure.

Peggy Eagan is a member:
Mecklenburg taking renewed look at its child protective services
WBTV (Charlotte, NC)
Mecklenburg County is closely examining the performance of Youth and Family Services, the once-beleaguered division of the Department of Social Services responsible for protecting abused and neglected children.… Mecklenburg has enlisted the help of UNC Charlotte’s social work school to find ways to recruit and retain social workers, which is a “national challenge,” said DSS Director Peggy Eagan, who took over the department about 16 months ago.

Eric Garland is a member:
Mindfulness Reverses Effects Of Opioid Drug Dependence, Patients Find Happiness In Healthy Pleasures
Medical Daily
“These findings are scientifically important because one of the major theories about how and why addiction occurs asserts that over time drug abusers become dulled to the experience of joy in everyday life, and this pushes them to use higher and higher doses of drugs to feel happiness,” said Eric Garland, an associate professor at the University of Utah College of Social Work, in a press release.

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