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News Items – September 2, 2020

news items logo oneHow Social Workers Like Me Can — And Do — Deescalate Dangerous Situations Every Day
Officers equipped with guns and Tasers often resort to excessive force to manage unstable situations involving people with mental illness, drug addiction and developmental disabilities. Social workers and other mental health professionals are uniquely qualified to address many of these issues. Yet whenever the idea of diverting funds from police departments to other ancillary professionals is presented, the jokes and memes are plentiful.

Donald McDonald is a member:
Alcohol Use Disorder: Addressing Stigma and Treatment Access in Rural America
Rural Health Information Hub
Donald McDonald, a person thriving in recovery, is a social worker with JBS International, providing national technical assistance for rural community opioid response grantees. He also self-describes as having a passion for “specifically addressing stigma and eliminating discrimination for all people dealing with SUD.” He made it clear that stigma exists for all SUDs — AUD, OUD, as well as other misuse disorders — and that stigma is a barrier to treatment for each. Despite this, he said that an imparity exists that is driven by patient profiling.

Sonyia Richardson is a member:
6 Common Phrases That Gaslight the Mental-Health Struggles of Others—And What To Say Instead
Well + Good
When you gaslight somebody who approaches you with their anxiety, depression, or other mental-health plight, you’re essentially trying to make the conversation more comfortable for you—and worsening their emotional turmoil as a result, says Sonyia Richardson, PhD, LCSW, a clinical assistant professor of social work at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. “It means to minimize or discredit the discomfort and pain one might have from experiencing mental health issues, and it means to subjectively pronounce that it is not real or experienced,” says Dr. Richardson. In other words, you’re trying to erase someone else’s experience so you don’t risk trodding into uncharted territory.

Reeta Wolfson is a member:
Six smart ways to manage your money through the pandemic economy
The Boston Globe
1. Accept that money is emotional. This might not seem like the moment to get touchy-feely, but we need to understand what drives our financial decisions in order to control them, experts say. “Money is integrated into every area of our life and it affects us emotionally, physically . . . [in] every area,” says Reeta Wolfsohn, founder of the Center for Financial Social Work in Charlotte, North Carolina. Wolfsohn, who has a master’s in social work, founded the center in 2004 to train and certify social workers and financial coaches in how to talk to clients about financial stress. “I talk about changing your relationship with money and with yourself. Because if you don’t feel good about yourself, you’re not going to put in the time and effort to change your behavior.”

Ask Amy: DNA test reveals mistaken identity
The Washington Post
It would be wise for you to find a professional counselor to help you and your family navigate through this. Some of the layers of this situation are intensely personal for you, but this also has wider consequences for your husband, and (of course) your daughter. The National Association of Social Workers has helpful links to databases of social workers and therapists: Check their website at Many professional counselors will connect with you virtually.

Julie Leikvoll is a member:
Not your average garage sale …
Morrison County Record
Julie Leikvoll’s work was impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, no different from many others, but as a social worker, it impacted her clients as well. At first she transitioned to telemedicine, but after 30 years in the mental health field, she knew not just her clients, but the entire community would be struggling, so she left her position and committed herself to community action. With a focus on mental health, Leikvoll started a Heart Link COVID-19 support group via Zoom. Through that support group she met a woman who was experiencing anxiety over the clutter in her life.

Karen Kleiman is a member:
Postpartum depression survivors on pandemic parenting
Al Jazeera
Karen Kleiman, a licensed clinical social worker, says that since the pandemic began, many of her clients have been reminded of their battles with postpartum depression. Other past traumas have also resurfaced. “The social isolation and lack of distractions and stimulation is causing women to sit with their thoughts in a dark spot that is reminiscent of intense suffering,” Kleiman explains. When we spoke, Kleiman had recently talked with a client who was having flashbacks related to sexual abuse that had happened 25 years earlier. “I said, ‘Why do you think this is happening now?’ and she said, ‘Because I’m terrified and I’m vulnerable.'”

Eric Schleich is a member:
What parents should know about children’s mental health amid coronavirus
Tampa Bay Times
Grief is especially difficult for children to process, said Eric Schleich, a licensed clinical social worker with Hope and Healing of Pinellas in St. Petersburg. Children tend to absorb the stress, anger and sadness they see around them and draw their own conclusions about why someone died – often turning it inward and blaming themselves, or fearing they can somehow cause another death, he said.

Patrick McCauley is a member:
Schools seek ways to provide mental health services during pandemic
All summer, Patrick McCauley answered mental health hotline calls from his home. He finally traded out a workbench for a real desk, though he still sits on a camp chair — “a little makeshift, but it works,” he said. McCauley is a social worker with the Los Angeles Unified School District. The district set up the hotline shortly after schools closed in the spring. As schools around the country are starting to open up — in person, with a hybrid model or remotely — it’s not just academics and COVID-19 that officials are worried about. They’re also worried about taking care of students’ mental health, and they still have to figure out how to pay for it.

Sarah Boone is a member:
Southern Utah University receives federal grant to help rural Utahns with opioid addiction
Additionally, three health care providers are in on the project: Kane County Hospital, Garfield Memorial Hospital, and Wayne Community Health Clinic. These three facilities will recommend patients for the pilot program. Hospitals in rural southern Utah are experiencing an uptick in ER visits due to opioid dependence, said Sarah Boone, a social worker at Kane County Hospital. Because of the grant, “some of our Kane County residents battling addiction may be able to receive vital support that they otherwise wouldn’t have had access to,” explained Boone.


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