Social Work in the Public Eye (May 2018)

NASW member Terri Lynn Flebotte wrote a guest editorial published in the Montana Standard about how the state’s pending budget cuts to mental health and substance use disorder services for Medicaid recipients “will hamstring those of us who are social workers, case managers, addiction treatment specialists, and medical professionals.”

Terri Lynn Flebotte

Terri Lynn Flebotte

“These cuts and rule changes will prevent Montanans from accessing resources to live stable, healthy, and productive lives,” she wrote about the cuts that were to go into effect in April.

“From my professional perspective, these cuts are downright tone deaf in the face of the national and statewide school gun violence we have recently witnessed,” Flebotte said. “Why are we cutting off our life support to a sane and stable society?”

“Instead of finding the political courage to pass a responsible budget with revenue to invest in all Montanans, the state opted to create more hardship for those who struggle day in and day out with mental health needs,” she wrote.

Physical abuse may be easy to recognize, but emotional abuse in a relationship can often go undetected by family members, friends and even victims themselves, according to an article published on
Lisa Ferentz

Lisa Ferentz

NASW member Lisa Ferentz is quoted in the article “11 Subtle Signs You Might Be In An Emotionally Abusive Relationship.”

“Unlike physical or sexual abuse, there is a subtlety to emotional abuse,” said Ferentz, a licensed clinical social worker and educator specializing in trauma. “It’s a lot more confusing to victims, as it typically is couched in behaviors that can initially be perceived as ‘caring.’”

At the start of a relationship, the abuser may appear to be attentive and kind.

“In doing so, they win over the trust and confidence of their victims, which then makes the victims vulnerable to subsequent abuse,” Ferentz says in the article.
Miriam Nisenbaum

Miriam Nisenbaum

There are only about 700 school social workers in Texas, because the state doesn’t require schools to have them, explains Miriam Nisenbaum, executive director of the NASW Texas Chapter.

“Because we’re not more clearly defined in the Texas education code, we have more latitude,” Nisenbaum is quoted as saying in a story posted at Houston Public Media about Texas schools lacking a sufficient number of mental health professionals.

“Most social workers in the schools in Texas do work hand in glove with the school counselors, but they have more of an ability to get off campus and look at the other systems that the child is involved (in) to see how they can be of help,” Nisenbaum says.

She said even with the help of nonprofits, Texas needs more social workers. They could help reduce bullying and behavior concerns in schools, the article explains.
Jean Fagerstrom

Jean Fagerstrom

Many people have strong inner critics, says NASW member Jean Fagerstrom, who is quoted in an article in The Park Bugle in St. Paul, Minn.

“We think [self-criticism] is a good way to motivate ourselves,” she says. “But the truth is we function better and happier if we learn to be kind to ourselves.”

Fagerstrom is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Minnesota’s Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality and Healing, and she teaches a course in mindful self-compassion. Fagerstrom took the mindful self-compassion training and says she has experienced positive changes in her own life as a result, the article says.

“I think I’m more supportive of myself. I have less fear of failure,” she is quoted as saying.

The training encourages her to bring new confidence to her teaching, the article says.

Self-esteem is based on being successful, being better than others, she notes. Self-compassion, on the other hand, has something to offer the individual when it’s obvious that things are not going well, the article says.

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