Social Work in the Public Eye (April 2017)

Cynthia Santiago-Borbón

Latina magazine sought self and relationship advice from NASW member Cynthia Santiago-Borbón in its February issue.

Santiago-Borbón is a licensed clinical social worker who specializes in Latina wellness, the article noted. She said “relationships, like every other aspect of our lives, take work. It’s about what you put into them—consistent, steady effort.”

Tips were divided into “issues.” For example, the issue: All you do is bicker. The fix: Practice saying “thank you” to each other—every single night—and sharing one thing you appreciated about the other that day, Santiago-Borbón was quoted saying. “Taking time to share words of gratitude says ‘I’m looking for everything that’s right about you, as opposed to focusing my energy on what’s wrong.’”

The issue: You can’t stop hating on yourself, whether it’s your body, your skin, or your less-than-stellar salary.

The fix: Interrupt that negative conversation in your head and try to “talk to yourself the way you would talk to your best friend,” says Santiago-Borbón. Start small: Each day, force yourself to look in the mirror and zero in on the things you actually like about yourself, whether it’s as simple as your hair, your height, or how thoughtful you are with friends. Don’t be afraid to say these positive affirmations out loud!

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle in Montana quoted NASW member John Wilkinson, who represents a collaboration between the NASW Montana Chapter and the Licensed Clinical Professional Counselors’ Association, both of which support House Bill 71.

The bill would require health care providers to complete six hours of suicide prevention training over the span of five years. It is one of several bills introduced this legislative session to combat the state’s high rate of suicide, the story said.

Wilkinson said at a hearing on Jan. 9 that whatever can be done, should be done, the article explained.

“… I don’t think that there’s any silver bullet out there,” he was quoted saying. “But, if there are more tools out there, and they are the most effective and perhaps can lead to more evidence that can result in some reduction, so much the better.”

A little less than half of people in the U.S. who complete suicide visited their primary care providers within a month of their death, according to the Montana’s Suicide Mortality Review Team’s 2016 report, the story stated.

Micaela Scully

NASW member Micaela Scully, a licensed clinical social worker at Silver Hill Hospital of New Canaan, Conn., was interviewed in a video posted at the Trumbull Times in Connecticut. Scully discusses how research has shown that eating disorders are more prevalent in the LGBTQ community.

“For a long time, we figured straight, white, heterosexual women struggled with eating disorders, but it’s even higher in the LGBT community and just as high as the Latino and black community,” Scully said.

Possible factors include the LGBTQ community suffers from more traumatic experiences than the general population as well as “minority stress” such as fear of rejection when coming out, Scully said.

Forty-two percent of homeless youth are LGBTQ, Scully said, and of that group, 33 percent of them experienced violence when they came out.

Amanda Flory

NASW member Amanda Flory, who serves on the NASW-North Carolina board of directors, was quoted in the News and Observer in Nashville, N.C.

The story highlights the Nashville Police Department’s HOPE Initiative, a program that allows people to walk through the department’s doors and get help with their opioid prescription drug, heroin and cocaine addictions without fear of incarceration.

When addicts arrive at the station for help, a volunteer accompanies them to the emergency department of Nash UNC Health Care. One of the first people they meet at the hospital is Flory, a transitional care social worker, the article says.

Flory follows each patient while he or she is at the hospital and after release from a detoxification process that could take five to seven days, the story notes. Each participant undergoes a behavioral assessment by medical specialists who determine if there might be other underlying issues such as mental illness, in addition to a substance use disorder.

“One thing I have been hearing is how refreshing it is to have someone in a law enforcement role trying to make a difference in this way,” Flory was quoted saying. “For many of them their experience with law enforcement has not been positive, and this has not been anything but positive.”