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News Items – June 3, 2020

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A 96-Year-Old Veteran Was Near Death. Then He Met His Social Worker.
The New York Times
The outlook for the patient assigned to Capt. Eric Dungan on May 1 was bleak: George Crouch, 96, seemed to have given up on life. His beloved wife had died of Covid-19, and Mr. Crouch was also battling the illness in the hospital. Since his wife’s death in late April, he was refusing medical care and would not eat. Captain Dungan, a trained social worker in the U.S. Army Reserves, had been deployed from Indiana to New York City to help hospitals counsel the sick during the coronavirus crisis.

Stephen A. Wanczyk-Karp is executive director of NASW-CT:
We need increased mental health services
Hartford Courant
The impact on mental health delivery of the Covid-19 pandemic has yet to receive the level of attention necessary to start focusing policy makers on planning for the current and future mental health needs of our state’s residents [May 22, “Our mental health system is in critical condition, and the coronavirus is making it worse”].

Mary Anne Cohen is a member:
Emotional Eating and the Coronavirus
In truth, worry, anxiety, fear, grief, boredom, anger and depression are always major triggers for emotional eaters. But when you add a pandemic to these triggers, you have a perfect storm for people struggling with food, eating, and worries about weight gain. And even those “normal” people who don’t have an eating disorder are struggling as well.

Opinion: Cutting social workers puts students at risk
Stamford Advocate
Throughout this pandemic no one has addressed the continued mental health services that the social workers in the Stamford Public Schools are providing to our school children and our community or the proposed cuts to these essential service providers in the Board of Education budget. As a former board of education member and school nurse with a degree in social work, I am concerned about the possible cuts to these social work positions. I know that every staff member is important but our school social workers are essential in our schools and our community. I was hoping to have more in the schools this year, not less.

Prentiss Pemberton is a member:
“People suffer alone and they don’t need to”: Mental health during COVID-19
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and many Americans are reporting high levels of anxiety and added stress from the coronavirus pandemic. It’s no different in Alaska.

Some mental health professionals believe we may quickly find ourselves in a second crisis. “Addiction thrives in isolation, so folks with addiction, meetings have gone online, which is a good support, but you know you really don’t want to be alone, especially in the early stages of any sort of recovery process,” Prentiss Pemberton, a licensed clinical social worker said. Pemberton is among the small army of mental health professionals providing support to clients online during the pandemic.

Lindsey Long is a member:
Zero Suicide Initiative: the importance of mental health during COVID-19
Mental health issues during this era of COVID-19 are more important than ever, and at St. John’s Health they are treated with the same concern and attention as physical health ailments. “Now more than ever, the idea of our behavioral health program is to have a holistic approach when treating people,” said Lindsay Long, MSW, LCWS, behavioral health manager at St. John’s Health.

Margie Bodanow is a member:
Virtual initiative promotes teen well-being, mental health in COVID-19 crisis
The Times of Israel
According to the collaborative’s wellness coordinator, licensed independent clinical social worker Margie Bogdanow, it was critical to include parents in the equation. “There can be more friction between teens and parents now because of everyone being home together all the time. And in general, there isn’t a lot out there in terms of support for parents of teens. It’s important to provide this support to parents before their teens are in crisis,” Bogdanow noted.

Malyna Kettavong is a member:
Breaking Point: Why the George Floyd Case Set America Off
“It’s a lot to unpack, so I encourage parents to really have this ongoing conversation with their children. So, really just be honest with your kids and open. Nobody has all the answers, so it’s OK to say ‘I don’t know’,” said Malyna Kettavong, LCSW at Kettavong Counseling in Norwich. “When we talk about resiliency, the most important factor is a healthy relationship with one strong adult, so anyone can be that adult for that kid,” said Kettavong.

Study examines black male youth reactions to social media videos of community violence
Washington University in St. Louis
New research from the Race and Opportunity Lab in the Brown School’s Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis sheds light on youths’ reactions to social media videos showing violence in their communities. Published in the journal Social Work Researchthe study presents findings from a survey of black male youths incarcerated in the St. Louis city jail. The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention funded the work, which is part of a larger study assessing the effects of the Fathers Make a Difference Project.

Kyle Hillman, director of legislative affairs at NASW-IL:
Bill to Ban Seclusion and Face-Down Restraints in Illinois Schools Gets Sidelined After Pushback From Administrators
ProPublica Illinois
Kyle Hillman, director of legislative affairs for the National Association of Social Workers, which supported the measure, said he was disappointed that opposition derailed the bill after months of negotiations. “We have said from the beginning that … ultimately the bad actors in this state are not willingly going to end this abusive practice,” he wrote in a statement. “We continue to hold out hope our elected officials step up and end this practice now before this becomes another Illinois tragedy story.”

Minneapolis police killing: George Floyd’s deadly arrest reopens wounds in Chicago
Licensed clinical social worker Natalie Graves said the unrest has an emotional toll on a community already hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. “I see that trauma, the fear, the anxiety, the depression, substance abuse, trying to cope and the anger, and all of that is impacting folks because of an injustice,” Graves said.

Diana Anzaldua is a member:
Ghosted? Here’s How to Find Closure
“Non-death losses are equally as painful as death losses,” said Diana Anzaldua, a licensed clinical social worker in Austin, Texas. “Not allowing yourself to process these emotions or cope safely can lead to mental breakdowns and depressive states.” It doesn’t matter whether the relationship was formal. Anzaldua said it’s vital to process that grief so you don’t keep carrying it with you to future relationships.

Courtney Tracy is a member:
How Therapists Are Using TikTok to Reach Teens & Talk Mental Health
She Knows
“As soon as I joined TikTok, I noticed the app was running rampant with teenagers and adolescents that were very confused about how their body and mind works,” says Dr. Courtney Tracy, a licensed clinical social worker with a doctorate in clinical psychology. Tracy owns a full-service outpatient drug rehab and mental health treatment center in Santa Barbara, California called Good Heart Recovery. She joined TikTok late last year with the goal of providing mental health information to a younger population to prevent them from suffering from circumstances that might lead to them needing to seek out services like the ones she provides at her treatment center. Her TikTok has over 260,000 followers and 4.4 million likes.

Tara Ulis is a member:
20 under 40: Tara Ulis, owner of Ulis Crisis Intervention & Consulting Services
Herald & Review
I started out working in hospice and end of life care at Connecticut Hospice. Studied and attained my License in Clinical Social Work (LCSW) and transitioned into trauma social work through the emergency department at Yale. We have lived in Decatur for nearly nine years and I have began developing a similar social work trauma program at DMH. This serves to provide support to patients and families involved in trauma, but also mental and emotional support to hospital staff and first responders that are often secondarily affected.

Elizabeth Strand is a member:
Social work expands in veterinary hospitals
Elizabeth B. Strand, PhD, founding director of veterinary social work and associate professor at Tennessee, said about 170 social workers who enrolled in her program had earned or were earning certificates in either veterinary social work or the related field of veterinary human support. Another 200 earned continuing education through her program.

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