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Members in the News – April 6, 2023

Cassie Brown is executive director of NASW-MO:
Photos: Activists rally at Missouri Capitol for transgender rights
St Louis Today
Cassie Brown, Executive Director for the National Association of Social Workers’ Missouri Chapter, chants during a protest for transgender rights Wednesday, March 29, 2023, outside the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City.

Fatima Salman is president of NASW-MI; Duane Breijak is executive director of NASW-MI:
Social workers recognized for breaking barriers during Social Work Month
Duane Breijak, executive director for the National Association of Social Workers’ (NASW) Michigan chapter, says the month is to honor social workers across the country. “We have 30,000 licensed professionals in Michigan alone, 6,500 students in social work programs in our state, and about 36 schools of social work,” says Breijak. Breijak explains social workers are everywhere — from schools to working in the state Legislature. … Fatima Salman, president of NASW Michigan, says social workers were on the ground after the mass shooting at Oxford High School in November 2021. “It’s not just providing the individual level, but also really from a higher level like what are mental health solutions for an entire community,” Salman explains.

Sara Amos is a member of NASW-TN:
[Audio] Community responds to the Covenant School shooting
Four days have passed since six people were killed by a shooter at the Covenant School in Green Hills. There is still much we do not know, and the grieving process has really only begun. In today’s episode we hold space for our community — to talk about what people are feeling in this terrible moment and what healing might look like going forward.

Carolyn Wilson is a member of NASW-FL:
Bay Pines VA social workers break barriers to support Veterans
VA News
“Most recently, our social workers helped VA exceed a national goal of permanently housing 38,000 Veterans by working with the Veteran Homeless Program and HUD-VASH team to exceed Bay Pines VA’s and the VISN 8 goals by changing the lives of 638 Veterans across central and southwest Florida,” said Alisha Stanton, Bay Pines VA Healthcare System social work chief. Stanton said three leaders on her team—Lacey Brown, Alicia Dudley, and Carolyn Wilson—are tremendous examples of social workers who have been instrumental in leading others within the organization to help Veterans break barriers.

Lynn Osachy is a member of NASW-FL:
[Video] Conversations to have to prevent bullying
Licensed clinical social worker Lori Osachy joins us via Zoom to discuss the Glynn County incident that left a 19-year-old hospitalized and how to prevent further bullying.

Sonja Bigalke-Bannan is executive director of NASW-HI:
The case for attracting more social workers in Hawaiʻi
Hawai’i Public Radio
A new report from the University of Hawai‘i found the state needs more social workers. “Social Work in Hawai‘i: A Workforce Profile” was conducted by the Thompson School of Social Work and Public Health. Hawai‘i faces a staffing shortage of 12% to 16% when it comes to social workers, said Sonja Bigalke-Bannan, the executive director of the Hawai‘i Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. The UH study showed that higher wages and legislative solutions could attract more people to the field.

Marissa Fors is a member of NASW-NYS:
Opinion: Drama Therapy Can Be a Therapeutic Tool for Helping Patients Cope With Cancer
Oncology Nursing News
Traditional therapeutic interventions provide patients diagnosed with cancer the tools to cope with their distress and learn to manage changing feelings. Health care professionals support the well-being of the patient and provide techniques to improve coping skills. For some patients, emotional support could be complemented with creative forms of self-expression. Drama therapy is a unique approach that has roots in drama, theater, psychology, and psychotherapy and has been shown to provide many mental health benefits.

NYS Public Social Workers Enduring High Stress, Low Pay
Public News Service
The trend of low pay has been occurring across the field of social work. A report from the National Association of Social Workers New York State Chapter noted 34% of social workers surveyed are at the same salary when they started their job, which on average began one to five years ago. DiAntonio described what she hears from social workers about the current state of their field. “They’re doing a lot more with a lot less,” DiAntonio observed. “What I mean by that is that their caseloads, in some instances, have tripled. We have social workers that their caseloads were capped at 40 that are now at 80. We have social workers in corrections that have caseloads of upwards of 200 people.”

Will Francis is executive director of NASW-TX:
The Consequences of Forced Birth
Women’s Media Center
Will Francis, the executive director of the Texas chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), reports that foster youth in his state are sleeping in offices, warehoused in congregate care, or put up in hotel rooms for lack of available placements. He anticipates the situation worsening with the fallout from the Dobbs decision.

Erin Young is a member of NASW-TX:
East Texas social worker explains increase in teen girls experiencing sadness
New data from the CDC shows there is a mental health crisis among teenage girls in the U.S. Teenage girls are experiencing record high levels of violence, sadness and suicide risk according to the CDC. “Being a teen girl has always been a difficulty. There’s so much growing emotionally, physically, psychologically that grows and happens during that time,” a licensed clinical social worker and co-owner of Bridge Therapeutic Services in Tyler, Erin Young, said. In 2021, nearly 60% of teen girls said they persistently felt sad or hopeless over the past year, compared to 36% a decade ago. And, nearly 1 in 3 seriously considered attempting suicide according to the CDC.

Dave Whipple is a member of NASW-TN:
Please stop conflating mass shootings with mental health issues
Clarksville Now
If your response to the shooting in Nashville this week was filled with sadness, anger, frustration, being fed up, heartbreak, etc., you are not alone. This means you had an appropriate, compassionate and empathic response to a terrible, horrific tragedy. It makes sense to respond that way. I had all of those emotions in very large quantities and am still working through them. One of the frustrations I have is that I keep seeing people immediately assuming or proclaiming that mental illness must play a role in these tragedies.

Jude Vereyken is a member of NASW-MI:
Jude Vereyken: Could alcohol be putting your health at risk?
Holland Sentinel
Did you know that the less alcohol you drink, the lower your risk is for cancer? Please read that sentence again! It rather made me step back when I first read it. Our body breaks alcohol down into a chemical called acetaldehyde, which damages our DNA and prevents our body from repairing the damage. And when our DNA is damaged, a cell can begin growing out of control and create a cancer tumor increasing our risk for getting mouth and throat, voice box, esophagus, colon and rectum, liver, and breast (in women) cancer. According to the CDC, all of these cancers have been linked to alcohol consumption! Yikes!

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