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News Items – January 13, 2022

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Nneka Njideka is a member:
How to Help a Loved One Through Sudden Loss
The New York Times
Nneka Njideka, a licensed clinical social worker in Brooklyn, N.Y., who specializes in grief, explained that those with more resources have “grief privilege.” They may be able to take an extended leave of absence from work and afford a team of professionals to cope with the loss, for example. But she said that isn’t the case for those who are low on resources — and people of color in particular — who, in addition to losing their loved one, may be faced with “living losses,” like unemployment or food insecurity.

Graig Meyer is a member:
[Video] Following a state representative through his district
Spectrum News 1
Being a state representative in North Carolina is a difficult job, especially with the districts that most have to represent. Tim Boyum follows Rep. Graig Meyer on a trip in his district, which stretches across urban and rural areas of the state.

Andre Harris is a member:
When Access to Care Ultimately Saves Your Life
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Andre was diagnosed with sickle cell disease (SCD) when he was a child. SCD is a genetic blood disorder and is the most common inherited blood disorder in the United States, primarily affecting Black and Hispanic people.

Poverty’s Reality is More Violent Than a TV Show Can Capture
UT News
But one of the most apparent and grim messages of “Squid Game” is this: The games are less violent than living in the reality of poverty, which is why so many of the players in the show chose to participate as their odds of success in life-or-death games are higher than that in real life. This takeaway is also salient for the many Americans living in poverty and the daily violence they face. It should shift the way we view the impacts of economic inequality on both body and mind.

Some say harsher sentences over DCFS worker assaults won’t prevent them
News Channel 20
“If we’re serious about protecting social workers, then we have to start spending the resources and the money to actually do that,” said Kyle Hillman with NASW-IL. “And so that includes making sure that those social workers don’t go there by themselves. We don’t send law enforcement on calls by themselves, why are we sending a caseworker? Hillman says going to these homes in pairs could be one solution.

Democratic candidates for governor, Senate address Iowa mental health
Iowa Capital Dispatch
Democratic challengers to Gov. Kim Reynolds and Sen. Chuck Grassley advocated Thursday for increased funding and access to mental health care. The National Association of Social Workers of Iowa, an organization of thousands of Iowa social workers, hosted the Des Moines candidate forum. Moderators focused questions on workforce shortages for social workers and the impact of the pandemic on mental health.

Jim Struve is a member:
Child sexual abuse at summer camp stayed quiet. Survivors speak out.
USA Today
Jim Struve, a licensed clinical social worker and executive director of MenHealing, which provides services and support to men who have been sexually assaulted or abused, said male survivors of sexual abuse often get caught in extremes. Many become overachievers – they try to do more, earn more, accumulate more. Others underfunction – they fail in relationships and at work, get in trouble with alcohol, drugs and the law.

Sabrina Spotorno is a member:
Sober curious? Here’s how to take a pause from drinking.
The Lily
“A month off and then some can do so much good for your overall well-being, your memory, your sleep, your digestion,” said Sabrina Spotorno, a clinical social worker and credentialed alcoholism and substance abuse counselor at Monument, an online platform for alcohol treatment and recovery. “The sky’s the limit, really, as you phase out from that relationship with alcohol.”

Sara Rodrigues is a member:
‘It’s like they’ve forgotten how to be in school': How the pandemic has impacted kids
The Herald News (Fall River, MA)
Sara Rodrigues, a social worker who co-founded Fall River’s Balanced Learning Center and an incoming member of the Fall River School Committee, said her non-profit has seen a huge increase in families looking for services. Many of them are worried about children who are experiencing anxiety, panic-related issues, depression and prolonged grief. Some students are seeing declines in academic achievement or now struggle to sit through a school day, sometimes running out of classrooms.

Mental health groups ask governor for more money, incentives for new hires
News 12 Connecticut
Therapists say they cannot keep up with the demand for mental help assistance as the pandemic lingers and surges. “The Who has something called, ‘The Kids Are Alright,’ Well, the kids are not alright, and the parents are not alright,” said Steve Wanczyk-Karp, of the National Association of Social Workers Connecticut. Domestic violence arraignments jumped 15% since 2019, juvenile crime spiked last year and 75% of inmates need mental care. Understaffed therapists say they can’t keep up.

Maria Baratta is a member:
Why Legos Might Be the Key to Your Sanity During COVID
Psychology Today
Working hours of telehealth a week, I’m asked over and over again, “Why is it that people are so tired and irritable these days?” One reason beyond the obvious, that we’re in a pandemic, is that we no longer have complete access to the things that release endorphins, the body-created chemicals that make us feel happy. Many of the things that we loved to do pre-COVID are limited at best and not as readily available as before.

Marissa Fors is a member:
Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 and Health Disparities on Cancer Screening
Oncology Nursing News
Due to COVID-19, access to potentially lifesaving tests have been reduced. In the beginning of the pandemic, many patients throughout the United States were challenged with the decision to risk exposure to the novel coronavirus, or delay their medical care. At the same time, some cancer screening centers were closed. Updated guidelines suggested to postpone certain procedures to reduce the possibility of infection. States issued stay-at-home orders and across the country there was apprehension to enter medical facilities.

‘Crisis situation': Mental health services in NJ stretched thin as pandemic boosts demand
Those seeking help in New Jersey are seeing a 30- to 60-day wait for a private practice counselor — if they can get in at all — and a three- to five-month wait to see an agency therapist, said Jennifer Thompson, executive director of the National Association of Social Workers’ New Jersey chapter. “Everywhere you turn, everyone is at capacity,” she said. “We’re in a crisis situation. There are a lot of people seeking help who can’t get it when they need it the most.”

Social worker community grapples with safety concerns in aftermath of DCFS worker murder
Central Illinois Proud
“Every time this type of tragedy happens, I think we take a pause and we can remember all those things that we might have been trained on or those things that we had and its never enough,” said LaTasha Roberson-Guifarro, member-at-large of the National Association of Social Workers’ Illinois chapter. Roberson-Guifarro said the tragedy has thrust the conversation of social worker safety in the spotlight. “I think that we are in a time and a space where we’re having real conversations about what the best solutions might be to address crisis situation and situations that require mental health professionals or social workers,” she said. “How do we make sure that that we center on what the risk can be, but that we also still give our 100% when we are going out there?”

Allen Pittinger-Dunham was a member:
D.C. social worker, therapist Allen Pittinger-Dunham dies at 57
The Washington Blade
Walter “Allen” Pittinger-Dunham, a licensed clinical social worker and certified addictions counselor who served since 2018 as Clinical Director of the Anacostia-based behavioral health and community development organization Inner City Family Services while also operating a D.C. private behavioral health practice focused on LGBTQ clients, died Jan. 4 of unknown causes. He was 57.

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