Clinical Practice Updates: August - September 2023

By Paul R. Pace

Resources for Clinical Social Workers Treating PTSD

person in a red fuzzy atmosphere

Social workers play a critical role in assessing and treating people living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), helping them live with their trauma through psychotherapy, support groups, and other services. By providing a safe, nonjudgmental environment, social workers can help those with PTSD manage their struggles and achieve a better quality of life.

NASW published a PTSD resource list in Tips and Tools for Social Workers. The article, written by NASW Senior Practice Associate Denise Johnson, LCSW-C, says the American Psychiatric Association defines PTSD as a psychiatric condition that may occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as intimate partner violence, natural disasters, terrorist acts, and war.

PTSD can have profound impacts on the lives of those affected, including physical, psychological and social effects that disrupt an individual’s ability to function. The resource list includes webinars, NASW Press books and links to more information.

Billing and Coding News for Clinical Social Workers Provides Two Updates

There have been several coding changes for private practitioners who are licensed as clinical social workers to diagnose and treat mental illness. The Tips and Tools for Social Workers, Billing and Coding News for Clinical Social Workers, outlines two recent major coding updates on prolonged services and behavioral health integration (BHI) that clinical social workers should be aware of when filing a claim for reimbursement.

Social Workers Do Their Part for Older Adult Mental Health Awareness

man speaking with therapist

NASW staff and members were involved with the sixth annual Older Adult Mental Health Awareness Day Symposium held earlier this year. The event was co-sponsored by the National Council on Aging and three federal agencies—the Administration for Community Living, the Health Resources and Services Administration, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration—and in partnership with the E4 Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Disparities in Aging at Rush University.

The full day of sessions focused on meeting the mental health needs of older adults. An on-demand version of the program, including videos and slides, is available on the NCOA website.

NASW Senior Practice Associate Chris Herman served on the steering committee for the symposium, and three NASW members presented sessions during the event:

  • Yvette Colón (Michigan Chapter): the link between chronic pain and mental health in older adults
  • Colleen Galambos (Wisconsin Chapter and NASW Social Work Pioneer®): social cohesion and intergenerational connection to address social isolation
  • Jaime Huysman (Florida Chapter): supporting family caregivers for people living with mental illness.

Ways to Celebrate Older Americans

three  men celebrating

NASW posted a Tips and Tools for Social Workers on ways to celebrate Older Americans Month (OAM) in May. The publication reflects on the Administration for Community Living’s OAM 2023 theme, “Aging Unbound,” from social work’s person-in-environment perspective.

It also underscores the intersection of OAM with three other observances: Mental Health Awareness Month; Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Month; and the third anniversary of the police murder of George Floyd. The article includes aging-focused resources for use during OAM and throughout the year.

Resource Addresses Prevention of Elder Abuse

sad elder woman

NASW published a Tips and Tools for Social Workers article in observance of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. The article describes why elder abuse is relevant to all social workers, provides basic information every social worker needs to know about elder abuse, and outlines NASW’s recent activities to prevent and address elder abuse.

The article also includes resources from the federally funded National Center on Elder Abuse (for which NASW serves on the advisory board), NASW, and other organizations to support social work for elder justice throughout the year. It concludes with an invitation to members to tell NASW the ways in which they are working to prevent and address elder abuse.

cover of August / September 2023 issue

Social Work Advocates Flipbook

NASW members, sign in to read the August / September 2023 issue as a flipbook