Social Work in the Public Eye (October 2017)

Two NASW members were quoted in a Montana Public Radio segment about a PTSD treatment program at the Missoula County Attorney’s office.

Andrew LaueAndrew Laue is the Missoula clinical social worker hired by the county attorney’s office to help design the secondary trauma program that aids prosecutors.

“Our best workers are the ones who are most susceptible to secondary trauma,” Laue was quoted saying. “They’re utilizing themselves in such an open and responsive and effective way to support their client. In doing that they’re receiving the client’s experience deeply in the fiber of their own body, emotion and mind.”

The story explains that the county attorney’s trauma program was adapted from one Laue created for Saint Patrick Hospital’s First Step program in Missoula.

MC JenniFirst Step’s MC Jenni is a licensed clinical social worker who loves her work, but who also is familiar with symptoms of secondary trauma, the story says.

“How it shows up in me is criticism coming out, defensiveness with my own family, with my partners, with friends,” Jenni says, “competitiveness, I have to conquer something if I can’t conquer something at work. That’s when I start spiraling into that dark place.”

Program participants learn about the biological impacts of trauma and how to recognize the associated risks and symptoms, the story said.

A military veteran credits the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center in Muskogee, Okla., with weaning him off opioids and finding a successful alternative to pain management, according to an article published in the Muskogee Phoenix.

Deborah MorrowNASW member Deborah Morrow, a licensed clinical social worker and pain clinic coodinator at the medical center, was quoted in the story, which explains how the veteran was weaned off opioids with Neurolumen, a medical device approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

It uses electrical stimulation, cold laser beams and light wavelength to reduce pain.

Since 2012, the medical center has been on a concentrated course to reduce the number of opioids prescribed to veterans, the story says. The center accomplished this by educating veterans and providers on the dangers of opioid addiction and dependency.

Veterans were then weaned off their pain medication and introduced to non-drug relief.

The medical center now limits opioid prescriptions to cancer pain, palliative care or short-term pain.

“Daily opioids sort of trick the brain into feeling better about having the pain but they generally don’t increase functioning and quality of life, which is what our chronic pain management is about,” Morrow told the Phoenix.

The Netflix streaming series “13 Reasons Why” is based on a popular book and focuses on a fictional teen who completes suicide and leaves behind 13 tapes explaining why.

Digital media company The Daily Dot highlighted a study by JAMA Internal Medicine, which showed a spike in search terms related to suicide 19 days after the series premiered.

Netflix responded to initial criticism toward the show by adding explicit trigger warnings and suicide prevention links to the episodes, the article explains.

Caroline FenkelNASW member Caroline Fenkel is a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist at Newport Academy, a national treatment center for teens dealing with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, trauma, and substance abuse.

“This is a topic that is often misunderstood and people are searching this to understand better,” Fenkel told the Daily Dot.

Fenkel said one of the reasons for the large increase in searches is a lack of resources.

“I think that people should be concerned that suicide prevention has very little funding, and that people have to go to the internet to find out more about suicide,” Fenkel was quoted saying. “That’s more concerning, because they don’t have accurate resources or because they don’t feel comfortable going to their parents since it’s so stigmatized.”

Karen KleimanNASW member Karen Kleiman coined the term postpartum stress syndrome to help explain mothers who have feelings of self-doubt mixed with an intense desire to be a perfect mom, says a story published in Glamour magazine.

Kleiman is the director of the Postpartum Stress Center in Pennsylvania and author of “The Art of Holding in Therapy: An Essential Intervention for Postpartum Depression and Anxiety.”

The syndrome falls somewhere between suffering from the “baby blues” and an actual diagnosis of postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety, a condition that can cause women to feel constantly anxious to the point where it interferes with their lives, the article explains.

It notes postpartum stress syndrome isn’t the same as postpartum anxiety, but it still can be difficult to live with.

“With postpartum stress syndrome, the adjustment to motherhood is accompanied by features of anxiety and depression, but not to the extent that they interfere with functioning,” Kleiman was quoted saying.

To read other media stories like these, visit Social Workers Speak.