Social Work in the Public Eye (July 2018)

Americans do not view money positively. In fact, 62 percent count it as a source of stress, according to the American Psychological Association's 2017 Stress in America Survey.

Rita Wolfsohn

Rita Wolfsohn

U.S. News & World Report reported on this trend and interviewed NASW member Reeta Wolfsohn

for its article on the subject.  

One important step in practicing financial self-care is to "reframe a negative thought into a positive thought," said Wolfsohn, president of the Center for Financial Social Work, based in Asheville, N.C.

 "A lot of people get stuck because they've made really poor financial decisions," she said in the article. "We work on forgiveness and seeing that they're deserving of better."

The story notes it is best for a person to deal with their financial situation head-on rather than let it run amok and cause stress.

"Until you take control of money, you can never take control of your life," Wolfsohn told the magazine.

Caitlin Ryan

Caitlin Ryan

NASW member Caitlin Ryan was quoted in a final installment of a five-part series in the Logo Network about mass defections from the Mormon Church over its once-secret policy of denying services to children of gay people.

The Utah State Health Department reported that in 2016 the suicide rate for youth ages 11 to 17 had nearly tripled in the state since 2007 — jumping from three to 8.5 out of every 100,000 youth.

"Family rejection is the most important factor in lowering suicide risks to our youth," said Ryan, a clinical social worker and director of the San Francisco-based Family Acceptance Project.

In an interview with NewNowNext, Ryan said up to 40 percent of homeless youth are LGBT, their challenges compounded by family rejection, and that LGBT youth between the ages of 15 and 24 are eight times as likely to attempt suicide as heterosexual youth.

"Even if you disagree, even if you don't understand, if you're struggling, [you can be a support] because you love your child," Ryan told parents at a suicide-prevention conference in Salt Lake City in 2017, the article says.

Stephen Karp

Stephen Karp

Stephen Karp, executive director of the NASW Connecticut Chapter, was among the social services advocates who assembled at the state capital to ask lawmakers to reverse cuts to a Medicaid program that could leave 13,200 adults who are poor without coverage.

According to an article in the CT Mirror, state lawmakers decided last October to lower the income threshold for the Husky A program, part of Medicaid, from 155 percent of the federal poverty level to 138 percent.

Most of those impacted from the change will lose coverage on Jan. 1.

Lawmakers have failed to reverse the decision despite a surge in spring income tax receipts and projections that Connecticut will close the fiscal year with more than $1.1 billion in its reserves, the story says.

"We know that if parents don't get care, their children don't get care," Karp is quoted as saying. He pointed out the projected state reserve as a solution. "I say, 'Really? We can't do this?"

Janelle Stauffer

Janelle Stauffer

Idaho had the eighth-highest suicide rate in the U.S. in 2016. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for Idahoans age 15-34 and for males 44 years old and under, according to a story by the Idaho Press-Tribune.

The article highlights a panel discussion among mental health experts and community leaders at a high school to improve suicide prevention efforts, especially for at-risk youth.

NASW member Janelle Stauffer, a clinical social worker, therapist and Nampa school board member, said the issue needs to be handled by the whole community.

"In any community, the school district has the greatest access to kids and their families and so can serve as a screening mechanism and provide all the education we're talking about. But it's not enough, it's a limited resource," Stauffer says in the article.

"This can't be a K-12 issue. It has to be a community issue," she said.

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