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News Items – January 6, 2021

news items logo oneWhy 2020 Was the Year of Social Justice
Inside Edition
The National Association of Social Workers was one organization that encouraged those who can vote to exercise their right. The organization hosted webinars on engaging millennials to vote and understand the barriers low-income individuals, college students, seniors and minorities may face when trying to cast their vote. Some say the pandemic helped highlight the importance of ensuring one’s voice is heard.

5 Rewarding Careers Changes for Adults Who Want to Work With Children
Shared
As a profession, social work is centered around service, social justice, integrity, competence, the dignity and worth of a person, and the importance of human relationships. These factors are the six core values of the National Association of Social Workers'(NASW) Code of Ethics. If you want to make a difference in your community and help ensure the safety of children in a variety of circumstances, consider pursuing a career as a social worker.

Gov. Baker signs landmark policing reform law
Cape Cod Times
The so-called POST Commission will be composed mostly of civilians – the governor will appoint a police chief, a retired Superior Court judge and a social worker chosen from a list of five nominations submitted by the local chapter of the National Association of Social Workers; the attorney general will appoint a law enforcement officer below the rank of sergeant, a law enforcement officer chosen from five nominations by the Massachusetts Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers and an attorney selected from five nominations from the Civil Rights and Social Justice Section Council of the Massachusetts Bar Association; and the governor and attorney general will jointly appoint three others, one of whom must be chosen from five names recommended by the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.

The Permanency for Audio-Only Telehealth Act: A Matter of Healthcare Equity?
The National Law Review
According to Dr. Evans, “[a]llowing patients to receive mental health services by audio-only telephone is a matter of health equity for underserved populations and [the American Psychological Association] applauds this important equalizer.”  Similarly, as described by Anna Mangum, MSW, MPH, Deputy Director of Programs, National Association of Social Workers, the Pandemic has, “laid bare the major disparities in health across the nation.  Eliminating these disparities must be one of our highest priorities. Making audio-only telehealth permanently available is one of the key mechanisms for advancing this priority.”

Kathy Kommit is a member:
Dating coach helps women find mates online
FiftyPlus Advocate
Even though more singles are swiping left and right, dating online can still seem intimidating and frustrating. Kathy Kommit, a certified Life Coach and Licensed Clinical Independent Social Worker (LICSW), has taken on the challenge of assisting women over fifty succeed in the online dating world. “Many women who are renewing dating after years of marriage feel intimidated by online dating. They may feel lonely and yearn for a partner but not know where or how to start. Navigating the technology of online dating can also be an initial barrier. It may be all new to them,” Kommit said.

Erin Brandel Dykhuizen is a member:
A NEW New Year’s Resolution: Self-Compassion
Community Reporter
Erin Brandel Dykhuizen: The next time you find yourself criticizing or shaming yourself, stop. Take a moment and picture yourself as a small child. Talk to yourself with kindness. Give yourself a mental hug. Let yourself know it’s okay to make mistakes. You don’t need to be perfect. You can accept your imperfections, and you can keep trying. Go ahead and start that exercise routine, but do it because it will make you feel better and live a longer, healthier life — not because you hate your beautiful, fluffy belly.

Sonya Richardson is a member:
The Zoom Life Is a Journey—Here’s an Exhaustive Guide To Surviving It and Thriving
Well + Good
Sonyia Richardson, PhD, LCSW, a clinical assistant professor of social work at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, defined the presence of absence as follows: “a deep state of heaviness and separation.” She went on to explain that these feelings often arise when we’re on Zoom because we’re together virtually while being separated physically. As a consequence, our mirror neurons—a group of brain cells responsible for compassion that are triggered when we’re in a room with others—don’t fire, and we feel a sinking sense of being disconnected.

Shari Botwin is a member:
[Video] Pandemic precautions increase feelings of isolation
WPVI-TV
The safest way to celebrate Christmas is to just spend it with people in your immediate household and virtually with others. Shari Botwin, LCSW and author of Thriving After Trauma says, “If you were to do a survey and ask people, ‘Do you think the holidays are difficult,’ nine out of ten would say, ‘It’s one of the hardest times of the year for me.'” She says many are missing lost loved ones or feeling lonely and when you add pandemic precautions in, it feels like a double whammy.

Elizabeth Beecroft is a member:
Are You Spiritually Bypassing 2020?
Vogue
First coined by clinical psychologist John Welwood in the early 1980s, spiritual bypassing describes the act of using explanations of enlightenment or catchall sentiments to avoid complex psychological issues. “It’s a tendency to use spiritual ideas and practices to sidestep or avoid facing unresolved emotional issues, psychological wounds, and unfinished developmental tasks,” Welwood explains in his 2000 book, Toward a Psychology of Awakening. “Essentially it’s avoiding or repressing one’s basic needs or feelings that may be uncomfortable and giving meaning through spirituality,” adds therapist and mental health advocate Liz Beecroft.

Daniel Silverman is a member:
Do you have the ‘COVID Blues’?
WKTV
On Monday, we spoke with Dan Silverman, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Rome, who says the COVID Blues is a real thing, he calls it grieving or burnout but says he’s been seeing many patients over the past few months come in for help with pandemic anxiety, “People will come in typically and verbalize the fact that they’re frustrated with how they can’t do the things that they would normally do, they’re tired of wearing masks and social distancing…so it’s very clear that they’re experiencing what you would call the COVID Blues, I would call it grieving or burnout.”

Rachel Ross is a member:
Meet the people who made school possible in this tough pandemic year
knoxnews.com
Rachel Ross works with children and understands them through the way they process their feelings. “We, as adults, often like for them to talk about how they are feeling. And children don’t do that. They use toys, they interact with the world and play therapists are able to see that and understand and communicate through their language versus our language.”

Laurie Mazzarella is a member:
Finding the ‘happy’ in the new year
Cape Cod Times
Laurie Mazzarella, a Connecticut licensed clinical social worker in private practice, shares a similar message and coping method with her patients. “What COVID makes us realize is to take one day at a time,” she said. After the shock of the early days of the pandemic, Mazzarella said it was important to help shift the focus to recognizing what we do have now and not what we don’t have. “Yes, we are without traditional graduations, birthdays and other celebrations, but we still have each other.”

Kelly Linde is a member:
Tips for helping an anxious child combat COVID stress
Waterbury Republican American
Cheshire-based licensed clinical social worker Kelly Linde advises active and open communication. “Let them share their experience and let them know they are not alone, you are going through it together,” said Linde, who works with the Cheshire-based Adolescent and Family Counseling Center. Linde advises engaging in more family activities, board games and family movie nights. Kids should be allowed to play outside. Parents might also want to limit their discussion of stressful topics in front of children, and perhaps not listen to news broadcasts in front of them.

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