Social Workers in the Public Eye: February - March 2022

Brittney Chesworth

While most people don’t like the idea of death, they are able to accept to some degree that they are going to die one day. For some, however, the fear of death leads to a host of worries about anything that could potentially end their lives, says NASW member Brittney Chesworth, PhD. She is the author of the Psychology Today article, “Imagining Your Death: How CBT Techniques Can Reduce Death Anxiety.” 

Treating health anxiety is done through a range of cognitive and behavioral interventions, Chesworth says. She usually starts by identifying her client’s assumptions and specific fears about death and dying. This often includes fears about the dying process, the final destination, and leaving people behind. “The goal in CBT is to help my clients challenge some of these inaccurate assumptions and see death and dying in a new, more accurate and balanced way,” she writes.

A new program joins residents, first responders and newly hired social workers to address mental health, public health, and safety in their area. The Community Care & Justice program is a collaboration among the South Orange, N.J., community, Seton Hall University in South Orange, and Essex County, according to a story posted at Seton Hall University News.

Kristin Miller

NASW member Kristin Miller, LCSW, professor in the Social Work Department at Seton Hall, is director of the program. “In many instances the police and rescue squad are called upon to address issues that present as acute and emergent, but are in many ways deep-seated, systemic and long-term,” Miller says in the article. 

Issues such as mental health, substance use, homelessness, sexual assault, and domestic violence often are better served by addressing these matters in a way that gets to the root of the problem, she explained. “Social work training provides us with the knowledge and expertise to more effectively address certain issues in the community,” Miller said. “Our team will infuse social work values into our service to community members; these values include social justice, the importance of human relationships and the dignity and worth of each person.”

LaToya Logan

An alarming rise in suicides among Black children shows the need for legislation aimed at preventing suicide among young people, according to an article posted at The Sandusky Register. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, hosted a conference call seeking support for the Child Suicide Prevention and Lethal Means Safety Act (S. 2982), which would bring increased funding and attention to suicide prevention for kids.

On the call, Brown spoke with clinical social worker and NASW member LaToya Logan. Logan is the executive director at Project LIFT, a Cleveland-based organization that aims to level the playing field for at-risk youth, particularly young Black men. “Disrupting suicide trends in the Black community, particularly with youth, requires innovative approaches rooted in culturally reflective practices,” Logan said in the article. “... We have to take on the role of an objective investigator, listening to the youth and including their culture in the assessment."

Rebecca Vlam

Depression has tripled among adults in America amid the pandemic, says an article in People magazine. NASW member Rebecca Vlam, LSCW, a clinical assistant professor at Widener University in Chester, Pa., offered advice for ways to prioritize your mental health. One is to contact your primary care provider. Your doctor can help you navigate the best course of action, whether it’s recommending a support group, therapy or medication, Vlam explained.

Next is to boost your support system by seeking out a support group, either in person or virtually. In addition, try to do any amount of exercise. While it is the most difficult, it is probably the most important component in maintaining mental health. Finally, prioritize sleep, the article says. “Telling a new mom to get good sleep is absolutely ridiculous,” Vlam said, but it is also crucial to maintaining mental health.

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