Social Work in the Public Eye (November 2017)

NASW member Susan Stone is as an adjunct assistant professor at the Silver School of Social Work at New York University. But a passion of hers is helping facilitate an animal hospital pet bereavement group. She also runs a website,, and blog about pet bereavement.

She was quoted in a story at about ways to approach pet euthanasia and coping with pet loss. Stone said pet owners have to know that to euthanize a suffering animal is an act of love.

Susan Stone

Susan Stone

“Humans delay the decision out of their own grief,” she was quoted saying. “You have to bear this to give that animal that quality all the way to the end. I am an advocate for a week too soon rather than a minute too late.”

Stone and Eric Deane Twitchell, a veterinarian at McKean Veterinary Hospital, explained that there is an objective tool to help a family quantify quality of life with a Quality of Life Scale, according to the story.

It asks pet owners to answer several questions with 1-10 ratings. The resulting score can be the gentle nudge, or something to hold on to after the pet has died.

Stone’s blog discusses the power of grief following pet loss, the common feelings following euthanasia and sudden loss, ideas for memorials and preparing to adopt a new pet.

The Bay Area Reporter in San Francisco quoted Heidi McIntosh, deputy director of programs at NASW’s national office, about a report that highlights adoption discrimination.

Kids Pay the Price: How Religious Exemptions for Child Welfare Agencies Harm Children was prepared by the Movement Advancement Project, the Child Welfare League of America, and the NASW, the article explained.

Heidi McIntosh

Heidi McIntosh

The report said there are nearly 428,000 children in foster care in the United States, over 111,000 of whom are awaiting adoption.

However, adoption discrimination laws protect workers and agencies who reject LGBT and other qualified parents simply because those parents fail to meet the religious criteria imposed by the agency, forcing children to pay the price of discrimination, the organizations explained in a news release.

“Child services workers are tasked with acting in the best interests of children,” McIntosh was quoted saying. “When states give agencies and workers a license to discriminate and to refuse to place children with qualified parents simply because those parents are gay or lesbian, or because they don’t share the agency’s beliefs, they’re creating a climate where fewer kids can find loving homes, and more kids are kept in government care.”

A study shows more millennials are considering splitting their assets legally before marriage, according to an article posted at 

The story examined some reasons couples seek therapy nowadays.

NASW member Minday Utay, a former lawyer who changed careers to become a psychotherapist and mediator, was quoted in the story. “Couples are facing the need to have a prenuptial agreement before marriage because couples are marrying later and with more individual assets they want to protect,” Utay said.

Mindy Utay

Mindy Utay

“This is a difficult topic and many couples seek help to deal with the emotional reactions to facing a prenup negotiation and what it means for their relationship,” Utay added. 

Another modern challenge couples face is keeping secrets in the age of social media. “Couples have more access to each other’s communications via Facebook, Instagram and other online platforms,” Utay was quoted saying. 

“There is much temptation to look at a partner’s device to see who they are communicating with or to view photos. This information may reveal things that cause distress and couples often come to therapy to discuss issues of trust and possible invasion of privacy, which can threaten their relationship," she said.

Jonathan B. Singer, associate professor at Loyola University’s School of Social Work and chairman of the NASW Children, Adolescents, and Young Adult Specialty Practice Section, was quoted in a story about suicide among children.

It noted that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded at least 1,300 suicides among children ages 5 to 12 between 1999 and 2015.

The suicide rate among preteens is far lower (0.31 suicides per 100,000 children ages 5-12) than teens (7.04 suicides per 100,000 people ages 13-18), the story said.

Jonathan Singer

Jonathan Singer

But the CDC reported that the rate has risen in recent years, especially among 11- and 12-year-olds.

Relationship clashes with family members and friends were more likely to be suicide triggers for early adolescents, while conflicts with boyfriends or girlfriends were more commonly associated with suicide among older adolescents, the story explained.

“Parents are the most significant influence throughout a child’s life, but the ability of parents to influence is more significant in childhood than in adolescence,” Singer was quoted saying.

Anti-bullying programs create an environment where kids are more willing to stand up for each other and where children can feel secure in discussing their problems, up to and including suicidal thoughts, Singer told Healthline.

To read other media stories like these, visit