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News Items – October 21, 2021

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Jasmine McLaughlin is a member:
World Mental Health Day shines spotlight on mental health conversations
October 10 marks World Mental Health Day, which the World Health Organization classifies as a time to raise awareness about mental health issues and discussing what needs to be done to provide mental health care to everyone. The day also reminds Jasmine McLaughlin, a licensed clinical social worker and founder of Empowered to Thrive Counseling and Wellness, about the importance of mental health. “It’s just a day to recognize the importance of really taking care of our mental well-being,” she said. McLaughlin says mental health has also become the center of conversations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lawmakers discuss social worker shortage in Kentucky
Spectrum News 1
Low pay, too much stress, and not much room for upward movement: officials with the Kentucky Department for Community Based Services say it’s difficult keeping social workers around. “Our staff has a lot more opportunity to work at a bookstore or as a bartender, making a lot more money than what they make working with us and working with a highly traumatized and demanding caseload system that we have,” DCBS commissioner Marta Miranda-Straub said.

Paula Atkinson is a member:
What a Body Positivity Expert Wants You to Know About Adele’s 100-Plus-Pound Weight Loss
Everyday Health
Frankly, that’s a healthy choice for her, and pretty refreshing for the rest of us, too, says Paula Atkinson, LICSW, a psychotherapist who specializes in eating disorders. So often, Atkinson says, celebrity weight loss stories are meticulously documented, and this can be extremely triggering and send the unrealistic message that, “If I can do it, you can, too!”

Justin Perry is a member:
We can’t arrest our way out of gun violence
The Charlotte Observer
As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Addictions Specialist, I agree with a holistic approach to addressing not only the opioid epidemic, but crime of all types. Working in the field of human behavior for nearly 20 years, I’ve learned repeatedly that all behavior is an expression of need. While stopping unhealthy behaviors is a goal, stopping behaviors without understanding the needs expressed and proactively replacing them with more constructive actions, only perpetuates an endless game of destructive whack-a-mole.

Victoria Rhodin is a member
Victoria Rhodin: Listen to my mother; she knew what she was talking about
Of course, you don’t have to let anyone put anything in your body that you don’t want there (quoting one of the people in the discussion referenced in the first paragraph). But in making that choice, you still have a profound responsibility to the people around you. If you’re not willing to be vaccinated, then you must not take part in social situations or community events where your choice could lead to someone else getting sick or dying. This is our obligation to one another as members of a community and of a society. 

Annette Deigh is a member:
6 Philadelphia Women on How Their Tattoos Help Them Cope with Trauma
Philadelphia Magazine
In her new book, The Tattoo Monologues: Indelible Marks on the Body and Soul, Philly nurse practitioner Donna Torrisi chronicles the personal stories and photos of 26 Philadelphians using body art to mentally and emotionally heal. … Annette Deigh, licensed clinical social worker: Deigh’s tattoo of a heart encased in fire signifies her life’s turning point of seeking help from years of abuse at the hands of her father. “I am a person with a lot of heart, courage, and passion,” she says.

Victor Armstrong is a member:
PW exclusive: A conversation with the first Chief Equity Officer at NC DHHS
NC Policy Watch
Victor Armstrong will lead the Cooper administration’s efforts to address racial and ethnic health disparities laid newly bare by the pandemic. The disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people of color has further exposed racial disparities and inequities in health care, which residents with chronic illnesses have confronted for years. While Black residents are 20% of North Carolina’s population, 26% of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 so far have been Black. Latinos are about 11% of the state population, but so far have represented about 18% of COVID-19 cases.

Mike Amory is a member:
I declared bankruptcy at 28 when my $60,000 debt became overwhelming. It was the right decision — and the stigma needs to end.
Almost two years post-bankruptcy, I’m newly graduated with a Masters degree in social work and about to start a job with a yearly salary that is about the same as the debt I had legally discharged. My life isn’t perfect, and I have fresh student loans to pay off (another myth that you can’t discharge student loans in bankruptcy is not true) but I now also have the means to pay them off over time, thanks to the difficult decision I made to declare bankruptcy when I did.

Michigan agencies seek strategies to address child welfare worker shortage
Second Wave Michigan
“COVID has put a huge added stress on the workers on the frontlines, but child welfare workers have received very little public or governmental recognition or hazard pay,” says Duane Breijak, executive director of the National Association of Social Workers’ Michigan chapter. “When they make home visits, they are putting themselves in harm’s way.”

Mary Ryan is a member:
Body image can be ‘life thief’
Jackson Hole News & Guide
“It’s really easy to get sucked into this kind of thinking,” said Mary Ryan, a Jackson-based certified eating disorder specialist through the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals. “We fixate on whether our pants fit too tightly, or we are constantly asking, ‘Am I getting my heart rate up?’ That mismatch between what we are doing and what is expected of us, it’s real and it can be really difficult to break that cycle of self deprecation.”

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