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News Items – February 25, 2021

news items logo oneWVU research addresses suicide risk in rural communities
The Register-Herald
A second-year student in the Master of Social Work and Master of Public Administration programs at West Virginia University is researching mental health in rural communities. Karissa Bjorkgren, a native of Franklin, has experienced first-hand how infrequently rural communities in West Virginia address mental health concerns, the release said. “Rates of suicide continue to climb, and this has become a factor in the first-time decline in the average life expectancy of Americans,” Bjorkgren said.

Jennifer Hoskins-Tomko is a member:
Asking Yourself ‘Why Don’t I Have Dreams?’ The Answer Might Surprise You
Well & Good
The underlying messages of dreams can also be helpful in processing your feelings. “When a client tells me that they had the ‘strangest dream’ and share the details, my first question is: ‘How did you feel during the dream?’” says psychotherapist Jennifer Hoskins-Tomko, LCSW, owner of Clarity Health Solutions in Jupiter, Florida. “While the details are interesting and often symbolic of other things, it is the emotional content that gives me insight on how to help my client or how they are trying to help themselves through the dreams.” Recurring dreams can also shed some insight on what’s stressing you out in your waking life.

Shanequa Moore, Abigail Martin, and Brian Romero are members:
NYC social workers set sights on city council seats
Queens Eagle
Like Gomez, social workers Linda Lee in Queens, Tricia Shimamura in Manhattan and Shanequa Moore and Abigail Martin in the Bronx are running for seats in the city council. Mayoral candidate Dianne Morales earned her master’s of social work degree in 1993 and went on to run large nonprofit agencies before kicking off her bid for the city’s top job. Each social worker-turned-politician can bring a crucial perspective to a landscape dominated by attorneys and insiders, said Brian Romero, the former chair of the National Association of Social Workers’ New York City Political Action Committee.

Scott M. Granet is a member:
Lana Condor didn’t know she was battling body dysmorphia: Why it’s so hard to spot
USA Today
Scott M. Granet, a 66-year-old licensed clinical social worker at the OCD-BDD Clinic of Northern California, says that not many people know about the diagnosis, though it impacts approximately 2% of the population. Having been diagnosed himself, Granet says it took him years to discover that he had been struggling with body dysmorphia. “I first began showing symptoms when I was 19, and that was even before BDD was a recognized diagnosis,” he says. “I had BDD until I was well into my 40s, because I never heard of it before. But I was very enlightened to learn there was a name for this thing.”

Saundra Starks is a member:
‘A place in my heart:’ Social work professor remembers 38 years at WKU
College Heights Herald
Saundra Starks, one of the top three-longest working professors at WKU, has dedicated 38 years of service to the social work program, but her journey at WKU started before her employment here. Starks’ journey at WKU started in 1966 when she attended as a student. She received her undergraduate degree in sociology with an emphasis in social welfare. During her time as a student, Starks was a part of the largest group of African Americans that entered the university. “Western Kentucky University has always had a place in my heart,” she said.

NYC to test no-police mental crisis response in Harlem
ABC News
New York City police will stay out of many mental health crisis calls and social workers will respond instead in parts of northern Manhattan starting this spring, an official told lawmakers Monday. The test program will begin in three Harlem and East Harlem police precincts that together accounted for a highest-in-the-city total of over 7,400 mental health-related 911 calls last year, said Susan Herman, who heads a wide-ranging city mental health initiative called ThriveNYC.

The Most Ambitious Effort Yet to Reform Policing May Be Happening In Ithaca, New York
GQ Magazine
If the proposal is approved, calls for service will be evaluated to determine whether an armed or unarmed respondent is necessary, or another public agency altogether would be best to respond. Mental health calls would be outsourced to a standalone unit of social workers based on the CAHOOTS program pioneered in Eugene, Oregon. The goal, ultimately, is to have far fewer encounters between citizens and armed government agents.

Sonya Belletti is a member:
Kids getting worse about chores during the pandemic? Here’s how to turn things around
The Seattle Times
“When you are doing activities and going to school, your chores are time-limited. When you are at home, there is always something to do. It’s almost never-ending. It feels pointless. I’m doing this now, and it’s going to be there again to be done in an hour. It’s like a never-ending loop,” says Sonya Belletti, a clinical social worker in Coral Springs, Florida.

Wendy Barth is a member:
REBOUND: Fewer Idaho couples divorcing since start of pandemic
Idaho6 News
The pandemic is putting relationships to the test. From postponed weddings to months-long lockdowns, some places across the country are even reporting a rise in divorce filings. But in Idaho, it seems married couples are working through their troubles. “There are tons of new couples reaching out to me,” licensed clinical social worker Wendy Barth said. “There are a lot of pressures on people right now.”

Ellen Fink-Samnick is a member:
Q&A: Implementing Trauma-Informed Care
Health Leaders Media
Trauma-informed care is an approach to providing care in a way that recognizes and understands how past trauma—such as child abuse, domestic violence, or events like natural disasters, car accidents, or crime—may affect a person. While there is a growing consensus that this type of care is necessary, implementing it may be a challenge. In her HCPro book The Social Determinants of Health: Case Management’s Next Frontier,  Ellen Fink-Samnick, MSW, ACSW, LCSW, CCM, CRP, DBH(s) offers some tips and strategies for helping these high-risk patients.

Ken Page is a member:
9 Potential Reasons Men Cheat & What To Do About It, From Experts
Mind Body Green
“Sometimes when men cheat, it’s because they are trying to get out of a relationship, and that is a first step,” relationship therapist Ken Page, LCSW, tells mbg. Although people of all genders might do cheat for this reason, Birkel explains that men may be less likely to have difficult conversations with their partner about their own needs and the relationship. If they’re looking for a way out, they may see cheating as a means to an end. “They’re sort of done with their marriage or relationship, and instead of having that difficult conversation, they’ll just have an affair,” he says.

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