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News Items – November 12, 2020

Texas Social Workers Group Helps Reverse Discriminatory Code of Conduct Change
Associations Now
A rapid-response campaign led by the Texas chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW/TX) last month successfully pushed for the reversal of a surprise change to the state’s social work code of conduct that would have allowed social workers to refuse to serve members of the LGBTQ and disability communities.

Tuscaloosa County Schools requesting more social workers for students
Tuscaloosa County Schools is working to help students who may be dealing with any mental health issues because of the pandemic. Currently there are 34 Tuscaloosa County Schools and 12 of those schools are covered by a social worker. District leaders said they are grateful for their 42 school counselors and eight social workers, but that’s just simply not enough to take care of their entire school system. Ideally they’d like to hire eleven more contract social workers in order to split them up and have coverage at all of their schools. Social workers can help with much needed physical needs that students have, sometimes that’s short term therapy or making a home visit.

Social Work Professor Makes Strides as NASW-NJ President-Elect
Seton Hall University
The National Association of Social Workers – New Jersey Chapter (NASW-NJ) has spoken. Over the summer, its members chose Widian Nicola, D.S.W., LCSW, assistant professor in Seton Hall’s Master of Social Work program, as their new president-elect. Her three-year term – comprised of one year as president-elect and two years as president – officially began July 1.

Aaron Andrew is a member:
6 Signs You Might Have Sexual Shame—and How To Overcome It
Well & Good
“We pick up sexual shame from the world around us, beginning with the messages we receive as children from our parents, communities, churches, society, and culture,” says Erica Smith, sex educator and founder of the Purity Culture Dropout Program. A lot of the messaging may not even be overt or direct, though. “Most of us have internalized shame just from growing up in a culture that believes deeply that sex, our bodies, and our sex parts are bad,” says relationship and sex therapist Andrew Aaron, LICSW. “What makes the shame so insidious is that people are unaware of their shame: They don’t see it, identify it, or talk about it.”

Ken Page is a member:
Journaling Prompts For Unpacking Your Relationship To Control, From A Therapist
Mind Body Green
When we feel afraid or distrusting, particularly when it comes to our governing bodies, it “mirrors what people experience when they’re in an unhealthy relationship,” psychotherapist Ken Page, LCSW, tells mbg, “in which in some deep way, they feel unsafe.” But accepting that some things are, and will always be, out of our hands, is an important step in releasing what we can’t control, so we can focus on what we can. Here, Page offers five journaling prompts to help us explore our relationship to control and navigate these uncertain times.

Frederick Streets is a member:
Local research and treatment program Black Church Project wins federal funding
Yale Daily News
In an interview with the News, the Rev. Frederick Streets, senior pastor of the historic Dixwell Avenue Congregational United Church of Christ, echoed Jordan’s sentiments. He emphasized the necessity of trust in the treatment project. “Part of that trust is seeing the treaters that reflect you, your own background, your own culture,” Streets said. “Many in the Black community, he added, suffer silently due to stigmatization of asking for help with their addiction.” According to Streets, others lack an understanding of where to go to receive this help. Streets said he hopes his background as a clinical social worker and senior pastor of Dixwell UCC will allow him to contribute the project’s efforts.

Karen Perez is a member:
Kids are picking up on post-election anxiety. Here’s how to help.
Tampa Bay Times
Hillsborough County School Board member Karen Perez, who is also a clinical social worker, said she has witnessed conflicts pop up that, in her opinion, were when students were “bringing their parents viewpoints to school.” There have been instances of bullying, and she thinks kids are soaking up the anxiety they sense from adults around them.

Police reform: Let social workers speak for themselves
The Record (Goshen College)
In their official statement on police reform, the National Association of Social Workers says that they advocate for the government to “reallocate and reinvest resources from law enforcement into mental health, living wage jobs, affordable housing and alternatives for anti-racist public safety services.” You’ll notice that it does not say, “Abolish the police,” or “Replace social workers with police,” which is what the above meme seems to be suggesting. Rather, many social workers and social work organizations are advocating for a reframing of how we think about safety.

Amy Pope-Latham is a member:
Post-election anxiety is real; how to handle it and small acts at home that can help
Action News Jacksonville
Action News Jax reporter, Meghan Moriarty, spoke with Licensed Clinical Social Worker Amy Pope-Latham, who is the owner of Coastal Beaches Therapy in Jacksonville. She said many of her clients are reporting restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating and intrusive thoughts. “In younger households, yes, the divide is really intense,” Pope-Latham said. “With everything that’s going on, home has become unsafe for some people where they feel like they can’t say something that might create an argument.”

Jana Wu is a member:
Decompressing after a Divisive Election
Fairfax Connection
Shock, anger, relief, disillusionment and even neutrality are all normal at this time, suggests Fairfax therapist Jana Wu, LCSW. “Emotions might run the gamut and might shift as the days progress or after engaging in dialogue with others.”

Mitchell Leppicello is a member:
[Video] Understanding Seasonal Affective Disorder
Autumn through the end of the year, and even into late winter, is a tough time for some folks. We just turned the clocks back, the days are getting shorter, temperatures drop, the holiday’s are approaching and more which can cause a change in mood. Mitch Leppicello, a licensed Clinical Social Worker is [interviewed] about something called, Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Iman Saymeh is a member:
Students destigmatize mental health in the Muslim community
Daily Titan
Muslim students opened up about the stigma surrounding mental health in the Islamic community at a Cal State Fullerton Muslim Student Association event on Wednesday. Iman Saymeh, a clinical social worker and CSUF alum, spoke to students about the generational gap between them and their parents, and how discussing topics like anxiety and depression in Muslim households can be difficult.

‘A big win for justice!': Texas officials scrap rule that would allow social workers to deny LGBTQ, disabled clients
USA Today
Texas officials on Tuesday reversed a rule that would have allowed social workers to turn away clients who are LGBTQ or have a disability. Lawmakers and advocates last week criticized the Texas State Board of Social Workers and the Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council for unanimously voting on Oct. 12 to remove disability, sexual orientation and gender identity from the nondiscrimination clause of its code of conduct. The board made its decision based solely on a recommendation from Republican Gov. Greg Abbott and without seeking input from social workers. Will Francis, director of the Texas chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, told USA TODAY that the board “made the right decision.”

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