Top Ten Terms To Know About Mental Health- Julie S.

1. Behavioral Health Sciences: 

Include the treatment of mental health, alcohol, and drug related problems. 37% of licensed social workers in the U.S. primarily work in mental health practice, and social workers are the largest provider of mental health services in the United States overall. Social Workers are significantly needed in this field as nearly half of Americans (46%) experience some form of mental illness (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 145).

2. A Serious Mental Illness (SMI): 

Includes experiencing schizophrenia bipolar disorder, and some forms of depression because they are long-term, or chronic, and have no known cure. Mental disorders are considered temporary or acute, and can include feelings of depression related to personal loss (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 146).

3. Comorbidity

Or dual diagnosis occurs when a patient experiences both a mental disorder and substance use disorder concurrently (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 148).

4. “Moral Treatment

Is an approach to care invented by Philippe Pinel to include kindness and consideration to encourage clients to discuss their personal problems and lead active lives. Dorothea Dix was also a great social reformer who attempted to remove mental illness stigma as criminals or social outcasts, but rather to provide treatment for them in a controlled environment (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 148).


5. Mental Health Centers Act of 1963

Emphasized an increase in community care including community mental health centers supported by state and local government. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 150)


6. Psychiatric or psychosocial rehabilitation:

Resulted from the community reform movement of 1975 in which social workers advocated for people with mental illness to be inclusive in leading productive lives through collective treatment and services to meet all of their needs. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 150)



Stands for the Substance Abuse and mental Health Services Administration which was enacted in 1992 by the U.S. Department of Health to provide substance and mental health services. It includes three centers: The Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse Prevention and Substance Abuse Treatment (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p.151).


8. Care Management

Is a “system in which a single accountable individual ensures to the extent possible that a client has access to and receives all resources and services that can help maintain his or her optimal functioning”(DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p.158).


9. The Campbell Collaboration and the Cochrane Collaboration:

Provide reviews on treatment effectiveness for social workers to consider in their interventions in working with clients with mental illness. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 159)


10. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990:

“Protects individuals with a physical or mental impairment from discrimination in employment, public accommodations, transportation, telecommunications, and state and local government services” (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 166).


DiNitto, D., & McNeece, Carl Aaron. (2008). Social work : Issues and opportunities in a challenging profession (3rd ed.). Chicago, Ill.: Lyceum Books.

5 Things Social Workers NEED to Know about Willowbrook – Julie S.

  1. The Willowbrook institution was first built in the 1930’s in central Staten Island, New York City and housed children with mental disabilities of varying spectrums. It was state funded and considered a school program for children who are unable to live at home or attend public school (DeBello, 2008, website).

“The World Health Organization considers a disability to be any restriction or lack of ability to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for a human being” (Dinitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 217)

2. The institution was meant to hold just 4,000 residents, however, by 1965 it was filled with over 6,000. This made for significant overcrowding and significantly challenged the ability for workers and nurses to provide adequate attention to each child (Rivera, Willowbrook: The Last Great Disgrace, video).


“The presence of DD [developmental disabilities] is about 5 percent of the total U.S. population; the prevalence of mental retardations is about 3percent (though some believe this estimate is too high) (Dinitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 220).

3. In 1972, a milestone for services for the developmentally and mentally disabled occurred in response to Geraldo Rivera’s expose of the horrors behind the walls of Willowbrook (Documentary). As a result of its work, Willowbrook was closed and the deinstitutionalization took place ultimately leading people with developmental and mental disabilities to seek assistance from community residences and agencies (DeBello, 2008, website).

“The Rehabilitation, Comprehensive Services, and Developmental Disabilities Amendments of 1978 instituted priority services (e.g., case management, child development, alternative community living, and non-vocational social development services) that provided many jobs for social workers” in the field of services for developmental disorders (DiNitto & Mcneece, 2008, p. 222).


4. At this time in history, few options existed for families with disabled children and restricted finances. In reflecting on the documentary by Geraldo Rivera, the class can conclude that Social Workers could have served as advocates at the macro level and meet patients at the micro level to change the way in which human children were treated including exposing them to traumatic overcrowding, disease, unsanitary conditions, and extreme restrictions in learning (Rivera, Willowbrook: The Last Great Disgrace, video). As a result of the work of Rivera, many historical changes have taken place which allow for social workers to advocate and work significantly more on behalf of people with disabilities. Still many more challenges exist moving forward and Social Workers can provide guidance through these circumstances.


Future Challenges: “The disability field is a growing area of practice for social workers and is full of challenges. These challenges include considering disability as an aspect of human diversity and within the context of gender, race, and ethnicity; better preparing socila workers for pracitce in the disability field; working to unify the field; annd promoting greater includsion of people with disabilites, especially in employment” (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 233).


5. Social Workers can help advocate for the PATIENT’S desires and ensure that they receive the care needed to meet their circumstances, without also limiting them or considering them in ways that make them any less human. People with disabilities are equally deserving of good care.


“Social work can contribute decades of experience with the ecology of society and multiple systems. This disability movement can help social work enhance approaches to clients, better empower oppressed and devalued groups, and understand the needs of people with disabilities” (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 221).



DeBello, Vanessa Leigh. “History of Willowbrook State School.” Web blog post. Willowbrook State School. Blogspot, 2008. Web. 15 Apr. 2016. <;.

DiNitto, D., & McNeece, Carl Aaron. (2008). Social work : Issues and opportunities in a challenging profession (3rd ed.). Chicago, Ill.: Lyceum Books.

Geraldo Rivera, Willowbrook: Letchworth VilliageThe Last Great Disgrace Documentary, 1972

Social Work and the Life of a Foster Kid – Julie S.

Life as a foster kid is not always easy, sometimes it can be pretty ‘hard knock‘. Still, a social worker’s role in child welfare is to help the child through many immense changes and traumatic events.


“In the United States, 13 million or nearly 18 percent of children live in poverty, and children of color are at elevated risk of poverty” (Dinitto & Mcneece, 240).

Poverty can also lead to inadequate or safe housing, and even homelessness. Children who are on the run must seek resources in other ways, potentially even stealing. Poverty and homelessness also significantly creates challenges and baggage for students in school, making concentration impossible (240).

Childhood neglect is defined as “the failure of adults to meet children’s physical, emotional, mental, educational, or social needs” (Dinitto & Mcneece, 239).

In cases where neglect is present, a social worker helps in the investigation process by working with the children and families and ultimately if needed they assess if the child should leave its current home and enter into foster or adoptive care. The Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980  works to solve the root cause of having to take children from their homes in that it works to help the families resolve issues and mandates “permanency planning for children. States are required to make reasonable efforts to prevent children from entering foster care or to reunite foster children with their parents” (246).


Social workers should provide a good listening ear for the children experiencing neglect or trauma in order to ensure that they advocate the best options for them to the courts. Unfortunately, some flaws still exist in the system and it can be hard to solve every problem in such a little amount of time as a child welfare social worker. Sometimes long term referrals are necessary to work on behalf of childhood trauma survivors.

“Social workers help the family work toward reunification with the child while also developing an alternate permanent plan (such as kinship care or adoption)” (248).

“Social workers do much of the work to identify the best placement and make it successful” (248).

Life in a foster home is not always as harsh as movies depict. Still, it is very important that social workers work with families to teach them ways of working with an adolescent who is experiencing significant change and also how to provide help and good care for the child.

Foster care is full-time temporary substitute care in a family-like setting. On any given day, approximately 500,000 children (or about 800,000 per year) are in foster care in the U.S. Children stay in foster care an average of thirty-three months, though 17% have been in care for five years or more” (250).

Academic and social challenges in the life of a child can significantly affect how they perform and learn in school. Unfortunately, many students that child welfare workers see have struggles with such things including reading.

“Social workers in schools, for instance, help parents assist their children to learn outside school and to overcome family tensions so that children have more peaceful environments in which to study” (256).

Programs such as the Promise Zone and Catholic Charities Community Connection Center, or Gateway, are programs specific to helping students in Broome County through providing social work to students.

Ultimately, there is much to be done in regards to child welfare at the micro, mezzo and certainly the macro levels. Social workers play an important role in how our communities and societies care for our children, and some are able to find happy stories like Annie thanks to the work of superheros like Social workers.


DiNitto, D., & McNeece, Carl Aaron. (2008). Social work : Issues and opportunities in a challenging profession (3rd ed.). Chicago, Ill.: Lyceum Books

Seven Facts about Substance Abuse and Social Workers – Julie S.

Who Is Effected

  1. Only 3% of Social workers primarily focus on addiction and substance use. However, 75% of NASW social workers report having helped a client with addiction. Every avenue of social work can contain situations with substance use (DiNitto & Mcneece, 2007, p. 171).

Substance abuse can be found in ANY population of people. All socio-economic, gender and race groups can fall victim to the disease.

Definition  of Addiction:

2. “The American Psychiatric Association (2000) does not use the term addiction”. Rather they use the terms substance use disorder or substance abuse regarding the abuse of alcohol or drugs (173).


Types of Addiction

4. “Approximately 9-10% of the U.S. population currently meets the criteria for substance abuse or dependence; about 15 million have an alcohol use disorder, about 4 million have a drug use disorder, and about 3 million have both alcohol and drug disorders” (175).

Addictions do not always include abuse of alcohol or drugs, either. Many people face other addictions including gambling or even food.

5. 61% of adults and 13% of children are considered overweight or obese in the United States. About 1.5% of adults in the United States are estimated to fit the criteria for pathological gambling (176).

Causes of Addiction

6. Science suggests that alcohol and drug related addictions can stem from genetic predisposition (177). Drawing a genogram with a client can help a Social Worker learn more about the family of the client thus allowing for more information about potential predisposition for addictive behaviors.

How Social Workers Intervene

3. Social workers in all areas and fields can work with clients facing substance use disorders. Many techniques that are helpful in empowering the client to seek rehabilitation and become clean include motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral therapy (Merrit Hartblay).

Motivational Interviewing encourages the client to consider their concerns and conflicts while ensuring and affirming the care that the social worker has for the patients behalf through reflective listening.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a tool used by many counselors and social workers to help teach people to change their thoughts in a way that can ultimately change their lifestyle and empower them to overcome their personal obstacles in a new way of thinking.

How do Clients Change


7. It is not an easy task ahead for anyone trying to change their life and recover from substance abuse. Relapse can be, and often is, a part of the process. Merrit Hartblay made an excellent point when he said that often it is not the moment when a client picks up the drug again that they face relapse, rather it is the moment months before that their mindset changes to desiring to go back to old ways. This is why a Social Worker can play a significant role in the life of a recovering addict because they can allow a client to truly understand themselves while seeking to empower their thoughts to conquer the challenges of recovering and changing their lifestyle.

DiNitto, D., & McNeece, Carl Aaron. (2008). Social work : Issues and opportunities in a challenging profession (3rd ed.). Chicago, Ill.: Lyceum Books.




Helping the Walking Wounded- Julie S.

Military members and families face challenges that many of us can not relate to. They have dedicated service and sacrifice much of their lives to defend the principles of our country. Yet, many endure a mindset of even more extreme battle when they return home. As civilians and citizens of the United States, it is important for us to consider the needs of our service members, especially as they return and work to acclimate to the changes ahead of them. Social Workers can provide many services to help.

How do we provide services?

Ideas for intervention vary among different countries. In the United States, the Red Cross was the first example of military social work in 1918. “The first enlisted army social workers were in 1945” (Daley, 2003, p. 439). In the U.S. services include “family violence prevention and intervention services, substance abuse treatment services, mental health services, medical social work services, combat stress response teams, family support programs, individual and family wellness programs and a myriad of policy consultation positions” (Daley, 2003, p. 439). Carrie also noted that the facility in Binghamton, NY provides Bereavement Counseling, Marital Counseling, and Military Sexual Trauma/Harassment services (Carrie Studgeon).


What is PTSD?

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can occur after you have been through a traumatic event. A traumatic event is something terrible and scary that you see, hear about, or that happens to you, like Combat exposure, child sexual or physical abuse, terrorist attack, sexual or physical assault, serious accidents, like a car wreck, natural disasters, like a fire, tornado, hurricane, flood, or earthquake” (

Symptoms of PTSD as listed on The National Center for PTSD Website:

1) Reliving the event (re-experiencing symptoms): Bad memories, nightmares, or flashbacks.

2) Avoiding situations that remind you of event: Avoiding situations that trigger memories and avoiding talking about the event.

3) Negative changes in beliefs and feelings: Fear, shame, guilt or lack of interest in former hobbies.

4) Feeling keyed up called “hyperarousal”: Jittery, always alert. Trouble concentrating or sleeping.

Who is affected?

People of all ages are can receive services from social workers. Veterans and enlisted military members (Active and Reserve) and also family members of service men and women. Families are very important people to consider for services because they help influence the feelings and decisions of their service member. Further, families endure many challenges while their service member is away and social workers can facilitate direction as to how to gain resources and comfort during deployment.

What is it like to be a VA Social Worker?

The VA has the greatest number of social workers with a total of almost 11,000 workers (Presentation 8). Some are civilians, and others are enlisted officers too. At least half of the social workers at a veterans clinic are required to have former military experience (Carrie Studgeon).

VA Social Workers provide services to veterans from many eras of war beginning with World War II through the War or Terrorism.

Carrie shared that working at the VA has been one of her most rewarding positions. Her clients are facing deep darkness from their experiences, but when she is able to see them smile the reward is unmeasurable.

Stories of the Walking Wounded

We read many stories of soldiers and their experiences told in the graphic novel Walking Wounded. This title is intriguing because it represents how on the outside someone may continue their walk appearing normal, yet they walk with memories of trauma and fear. These people walk with wounds that may not also be visible to us all, but social workers can provide support and encouragement to discover these wounds and begin to heal them. Social workers can allow veterans to understand their feelings and encourage normalcy.

Throughout the lessons of this week, I often reflected on the story of Rick Yarosh. Rick graduated from the same High School as me (Windsor, NY) and has spoken at several events about his time serving. I believe he has also visited Binghamton University a few times too. I think about the emotions and trauma that he went through and I reflect on the work that he is doing now. Currently, he travels the country speaking about his experience and giving motivation and hope to his audience members. In a way, he exemplifies characteristics of a social worker by giving strength based motivation to students and military members alike. It is amazing to see him empower others when I know he too has experienced low points in his life. In his story below, he shares about a little girl who said “hello”. He says that it was this moment that really made him feel good. This reminds me of how Connie told us that clients are looking for someone who is human on the other side, someone who can relate and have empathy. If you have not heard Rick’s story before, I am sure you have seen him in the news or online as his picture has traveled the country and now also is on display at a national museum.

“I don’t have one regret.” The story of SGT Rick Yarosh, US Army (ret) from Mike Allen on Vimeo.


  • Daley, James G. (2003). Military social work: A multi-country comparison. International Social Work, 46(4), 437-448.

Major Matters from This Week’s Lessons on Medical Social Work – Julie S.

Social work in health care is a very important and needed field as it provides services beyond medicine and care.

The medical model practiced by physicians and caretakers emphasizes disease and the treatment of disease. In contrast, Social Workers can provide a biopsychological approach meaning they treat the patient holistically.

A social worker considers the “patient’s health, psychological state, family situation, employment, financial status, culture, religion, and neighborhood conditions” (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p.201).

In fact, medical social work was the first ever specialized area in social work overall (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p.203).

film sad death cancer ill

Oncology is a major field of social work in which works to provide patients and families with support through the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. They help promote psychological awareness and recovery while also facilitating treatment resources and plans with the patient (Class Presentation 6).


Kaylin Andres shared with us her experience with cancer at age 23 in her graphic novel Terminally Ill’in. She described waiting for the diagnosis as:

“The maybe’s are the sickness that spreads. The hypothetical continues to plague my thoughts and those of anyone close.I would like to know if this pain growing inside me will be my downfall. I would like to know, grieve, and get the hell on with it. I hate indecision. I hate the middle.” -K. Andes (Andes & Solo, 2011).

sisters keeper my sisters keeper

Her experience was unfortunately far from comforting, however, a social worker may have been able to address her needs during the intensive and emotional process through the biopsychological approach.

There are many other areas in which social workers can provide services in the medical world as well (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p.206-213)..

  • Primary Care
  • Emergency Department
  • Nursing Homes and Hospice
  • Pediatrics
  • Intensive Care Unit
  • Behavioral and Psychiatric Health 
  • Veterans Services 
  • LGBT clinics
  • Home Health Care
  • Palliative Care



Health care researchers predict that the need for social workers will greatly increase in the future as the presence of chronic illness increases, technology increases opportunities for lifetime care decisions, and the cost of health care increases thus requiring advocacy for high-quality and compassionate care as well as assistance to those with fewer resources and difficulties with health literacy (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p.206-213).



Social workers can specifically ensure advocacy for patients and future patients (Class Presentation 6)


Health care literacy is an important service that social workers can provide, yet in the past it has not been a central concern.

One-third of U.S. adults do not have adequate health literacy to manage their health care needs; and low health literacy is a major concern due to its association with poor health outcomes, high health care costs, and heath communication problems” (Liechty, 2011, p.99).

Social workers can promote health literacy in several avenues including through everyday counseling and casework interactions, internet health coaching interventions, evidence-based staff training and awareness about health literacy rates, and screening for patients who may have low health literacy (Liechty, 2011, p.104-105).


Working in the medical field as a social worker can be one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences. Not only do they aid in the grieving process for families, but they also serve to provide support and relief for physicians. In the book Days in the Lives of Social Workers, we especially see this as Ogden Rodgers, Ph.D. ACSW, works throughout the emergency department helping doctors address family members and even more challenging, providing moments of relief and support as Doctors are forced to say goodbye to a patient they have worked very hard to revive (Grobman,2012, p.34).


” Don’t get me wrong, I love being a social worker. I adore the work that I do with vulnerable patients who need an advoacte. I went into this field so I could make a diference in their lives. Some days, however, are more challenging than others. This is one of those days” -Jodi Goldstein (Grobman,2012, p.45)

Many circumstances can be challenging in the medical field, but as social workers, people in this career continually note that the moments of reward and success always make the challenges worth the work.

Most importantly, social workers are able to look at situations from a strengths perspective. They can work with many patients to create opportunity and hope.

The strengths perspective is an important counterbalance to the medical model’s preoccupation with pathology and deficits” (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p.202).

This process of evaluating a patient’s strengths is very important in the assessment portion of DAP notes in hospitals and emergency care and allows encouragement for the patient.


Pictures feature scenes from the movie My Sister’s Keeper.

Grobman, L., & Clark, Elizabeth J. (2012). Days in the lives of social workers : 58 professionals tell “real-life” stories from social work practice (4th ed.). Harrisburg, PA: White Hat Communications

DiNitto, D., & McNeece, Carl Aaron. (2008). Social work : Issues and opportunities in a challenging profession (3rd ed.). Chicago, Ill.: Lyceum Books

Liechty, Janet M. (2011). Health literacy: Critical opportunities for social work leadership in health care and research.(Report).Health and Social Work, 36(2), 99


Poverty and Homelessness ft. Humans of New York-Julie S.

The images for this week’s listicle feature stories from the famous author of Humans of New York. These are real-life stories of people struggling with the adverse circumstances of poverty and homelessness.

“What was the saddest moment of your life?”
“Probably when I was homeless for a few months.”
“What happened?”
“This city can really chew you up and spit you out. People don’t seem to realize that a lot of the homeless people they pass on the street had homes the week before. (Humans of NY Facebook, July 26, 2013)

“Unless we are willing to say that every other person is lazy, or six out of ten are unmotivated, we must seriously consider the possibility that most poverty is not grounded in personal attitudes or culture, but rather in circumstances often out of the control of those affected” (DiNitto & Mcnee, 2008, 301).

In 2005, 37 million Americans, nearly 13% of the U.S. population, lived below the federally established poverty threshold” (DiNitto & Mcnee, 2008, 302).

An individual making less than $10,160 a year was considered under the threshold.A family of four is considered poor if the household annual income is less than $19,806 (DiNitto & Mcnee, 2008, 301).

According to the study One Nation, Underprivileged: Why American Poverty Affects Us All: 11% of people at age 20 are poor in America, 36% have lived in poverty for at least a year by age 36, and 51% by age 65 (DiNitto & Mcnee, 2008, 303).

“One day a crazy looking homeless guy came to the door, and we were about to close the door on him, but my mother saw him and shouted: ‘Hey Eugene!’ She knew his name! Then she ran around the kitchen putting all sorts of food into tupperware, and brought it out to him. After he left, we asked my mom why she gave him so much food. She told us: ‘You never know how Jesus is going to look when he shows up.’ She was always saying that– it was a spiritual thing. Then you know what happened? Two months later, that same man showed up on the door step, clean shaven, and wearing a suit. And he had an envelope with money for my mother. ‘Ms. Rosa always believed in me,’ he said. I’ll never forget it! Eugene was his name.” -April 4, 2014

Females are found to be at higher risk for homelessness in all of these age ranges (DiNitto & Mcnee, 2008, 303).

In 2003, the average median income for males with a high school diploma was $23, 502 however females annual average was $15, 545. With a bachelor’s degree, both averages increase. For males, to $42,009; and females to $30,426 (DiNitto & Mcnee, 2008, 298).Still we see a significant income gap between men and women.

“We’ve been in the shelter system ever since their father was murdered. We needed his paycheck to pay the rent. We had no choice. He had a good job at the Pepsi factory. We were engaged at the time, and we were about to move upstate. We were even planning to take a trip to Disney World. But when he died, a part of me died. I went into a depression. Everything was moving around me, but I was at a standstill. I didn’t want to do my hair. I didn’t want to be bothered with the kids. We used to go to the park and play, but after their father was killed, we were homebodies. I just wanted to stay at home and cry.” – Excerpt from Humans of NY, May 2, 2015

Poverty levels are surprisingly somewhat higher in rural areas than urban at 14% versus 12% in rural areas (DiNitto & Mcnee, 2008, 304).

The process required for receiving resources through the Department of Social Services is not easy. We learned this in the class simulation with intense paperwork and also from our guest speaker, Kelly Robertson from Opportunities for Broome Inc. She shared with us that in Broome County, there is a 3-year waiting list for housing programs associated with Opportunities for Broome due to over 2,500 referrals for people in need of utility or post eviction help (Robertson).

Help this Humans of New York Homeless Disabled Man

“My mother and I lost our apartment when the landlord raised the rent. She went to live in my aunt’s attic in New Jersey, but there were too many stairs there, so I had to go to the homeless shelter. Most of the people at the shelter have addiction problems and mental issues. I’m living with people that I never thought I’d have to live with. The M35 is the only bus that goes to the shelter. Disabled people are supposed to get on first. But as soon as it gets to the stop, everyone rushes in until it’s full, and the bus driver is too intimidated to say anything. A lot of times it leaves without me.”

The shelter is not always the most comfortable place for people to go. In fact, for some, it can be dangerous. Thus, many people prefer to continue life on the streets. This is observed in the decisions of the protagonist in the book Pitch Black. He compares the shelter to Hell, and instead finds comfort and safety living in the pitch black tunnels of the subways (Landowne & Horton).

There are many unmet healthcare needs for the homeless, unfortunately. Children with a history of foster care are at significant risk as many face “rates of homelessness, unemployment, mental illness, substance abuse, victimization, and lack of health care insurance coverage (Baggett et al., 2010, p.1331).

“Why were you homeless?”
“It just got to a point where my mom couldn’t maintain anymore. The sad part was that it was during high school. So I had to keep it a secret. Cause, you know, it’s high school.” – May 13, 2013

Most importantly, we must be mindful in regards to the challenges that face the homeless, as well as the factors that can cause homelessness. Sometimes the people with the biggest hearts are those with the least… Truly it can happen to anyone. Some causes are beyond the control of others and, therefore, the next time we see someone facing homelessness, we should be less judgmental and more willing to help.


Homelessness can be very confusing for children, and it comes with a lot of misconceptions. We try to untangle that confusion as soon as they arrive: ‘No, you’re not a bum. You don’t live in a cardboard box. You don’t stink. Mom is not a bad person. She isn’t crazy. This is not forever.’ We want to undo some of the trauma of homelessness because we don’t want children to view themselves as homeless for the rest of their lives.” – Excerpt from Humans of New York, May 2, 2015

If you find these stories inspiring, consider learning more about the organization working with many of the people in this listicle through the link below!

“This is one of a series of portraits featuring residents and staff of the Win Homeless Shelter for Women And Children. In addition to providing programs and services aimed at breaking the cycle of homelessness, Win provides shelter for 4500 people across NYC every night, including 2700 children.” – Brandon Stanton, Author of Humans of NY     

DiNitto, D., & McNeece, Carl Aaron. (2008). Social work : Issues and opportunities in a challenging profession (3rd ed.). Chicago, Ill.: Lyceum Books.

Horton, A. (2008). Pitch black : Don’t be skerd (1st ed.). El Paso, TX: Cinco Puntos Press.

Baggett, Travis P., O’Connell, James J., Singer, Daniel E., & Rigotti, Nancy A. (2010). The unmet health care needs of homeless adults: A national study.(RESEARCH AND PRACTICE)(Author abstract). The American Journal of Public Health, 100(7), 1326.



Testimonies and Tips on IPV-Julie S.


Intimate Partner Violence, or Domestic Violence, is defined by the World Health Organization as: “Any behavior within an intimate relationship that causes physical, psychological or sexual harm to those in the relationship”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have added to this definition to include patterned instances, “progressive social isolation, deprivation and intimidation” (Class Notes Week 3)



violence-chart-circleThis week’s guest speaker, Carrie Moylan, noted how impactful this power wheel is when showing it to victims of IPV. Many do not recognize that they are a part of a system of abuse. Instead they consider the acts of their partner to be normal, or ways in which their partner grieves. There are many different forms of abuse, and no one deserves to endure any of them (Carrie Moylan).




 “An estimated 1.5 million women and 830,000 men are physically or sexually abused by an intimate partner annually in the United States” -National Violence Against Women Survey (Class Notes Week 3)cycleofviolence


“People in abusive relationships often mistake intensity for intimacy. It feels intimate because it is so personal, but intimacy requires trust- and there is no trust in abusive relationships” -Dragonslippers (Penfold, 2005, p.1)

Domestic Violence can and does also happen in same-gender relationships. This story depicts the effects of emotional and physical abuse in IPV.

Warning: This award winning film on “the effects of domestic violence and alcohol abuse in same sex relationships” features some explicit language. (Emma Loveday & Tom Smith, 2015)


Children of parents experiencing IPV also experience significant distress from the circumstances. This story shares the challenges of how growing up in a household with IPV can create grief.

  • About one in three adolescent girls in the U.S. experience physical, emotional or verbal abuse in a dating relationship  -Davis  2008 (Class Notes Week 3)
  • Two in five girls ages 11-12 have reported friends with relationships containing verbal abuse  -Tween and Teen Dating Violence and Abuse Study 2000 (Class Notes Week 3)

Children’s experiences with abuse can also influence their actions in future relationships. In fact, many perpetrators designate childhood abuse or witnessing abuse as reason for their anger and actions. This raises concern to our current methods of intervention for children in homes with IPV.


The hardest question people ask survivors of Domestic Violence is “Why Didn’t you just leave…?”

There are many barriers that make the decision to leave EXTREMELY HARD. Victims with children are often in the greatest struggle because they want to keep their children safe and not expose them to major life changes. Other barriers include feeling ashamed about the circumstances, feeling like you are the only person that can help your partner, and great fear that the circumstances could become worse if you were to leave.

Even when victims return back to their homes after seeking services, Social Workers understand that one night of safety is still significant because it helps to plant the seed for escaping violence and seeking help. It can take up to approximately seven acts of aggression until the victim finally decides to leave the violence atmosphere (Carrie Moylan).



There is much to learn about IPV and its complexity… It is important for bystanders and victims to understand how painful and challenging situations can be to escape and recover.

As stated in the research of Mary Allen on gender symmetry: “To fully understand and make appropriate assessments will require a comprehensive understanding of the typologies of such violence, the dynamics which can be identified in each typology and the likely impacts on abused women and men and on their children” (Allen, 2010, p252)


Leslie’s story shows us that anyone can be victim to IPV. She leaves us all with the best advice and that is:

“Abuse only thrives is silence, you have the power to end Domestic Violence simply by shining a spotlight on it” -Leslie Morgan Steiner


If you or someone you know is experiencing any form of Domestic Violence please consider this local resource: RISE (Click the Link) 

Allen, Mary. (2011). Is there gender symmetry in intimate partner violence?(Report). Child & Family Social Work, 16(3), 245.

Penfold, R. (2005). Dragonslippers : This is what an abusive relationship looks like (1st American ed.). New York: Black Cat/Grove Press : Distributed by Group West.