Older Adults NEED Social Work and Here’s Why!

by Marisa Bordowitz

  1. We have a growing population. It will supposedly be double the population it was in 2000 in 2030. Advances in health care and technology have yielded longevity. As the elderly demographic grows, so does the need for social workers.  (Vassello, J.D., 2016) The elderly constitutes 12 % of the population which is a chunk large enough to warrant assistance. For assistance to be acquired, interest in the field may also be strong. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, pg. 266)six-flags-old-man-o.gif
  2. Old folks face a series of obstacles (many of which are heart wrenching) like: living in solitude (as a person ages, the people most close to them are likely to pass away), poverty (it’s difficult to have an income when incapable of work), difficulty obtaining access to affordable health care  (a more common hurdle but a hurdle nonetheless… here is also where support services can be implemented!), changes in family life (families are becoming less supportive and expansive as people have less children and divorce rates skyrocket).  A social worker must bear in mind all of these obstacles. (Vassello, J.D., 2016)giphy.gif
  3. Difficulty functioning normally plagues older adults. ADL (or activities of daily living) are measured by an elder’s ability to clothe, bathe and, feed him/herself as well as mobilize. (Vassello, J.D., 2016)tumblr_inline_mg8pk2ltuJ1rnl9ur.gif
  4. Physical functioning is just a PART of what elders deal with. Their mental and emotional health is also compromised as they age. It behooves social workers to be on their toes, looking for mental health issues within their clientele. 1 in 5 people over the age of 55 are subject to being mentally unwell. AND DID YOU KNOW that individuals over 65 have the highest suicide rate. I formerly thought it was more prevalent among adolescents! Lastly, men above 65 have the highest rate of going through with suicide.  (Vassello, J.D., 2016)giphy-1.gif
  5. SOCIAL WORKERS MUST BE EDUCATED ABOUT ELDER ABUSE!!!! The elderly are being seriously taken advantage of due to their sometimes helpless state. Neglect, psychological abuse and financial exploitation are among the ways elders are mistreated. These transgressions must be taken seriously. (Vassello, J.D., 2016) THANKFULLY, adult protective services have been executed such that social workers can assess and treat these cases of abuse. (DiNittto & McNeece, 2008, pg. 281) tumblr_myj8y8bDiw1sgdqb4o1_500.gifMoreover, we need the advocacy and counseling of social workers. 

Young&OlderWomen_compressed.jpg

 

 

Works Cited

Vassello. J.  J.D (2016). Social Work With Older Adults Powerpoint

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

What EVERYONE Should Know About Mental Illness

…. and why we must END STIGMA and MAKE CHANGE.

by  Marisa Bordowitz

  1. Social workers are in HIGH demand in the mental health practice. Many people with ailments of the mind believe they are alone which couldn’t be farther from the truth. If your mental health suffers or has suffered, you are in very good company. 46 % (that’s just about half) of all Americans endure some form of mental illness over the course of their lifetime. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, pg. 145)17-2-The-Perks-of-Being-a-Wallflower-quotes.gif
  2. The DSM (or the diagnostic reference for mental disorders used by psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers) suggests that a mental illness constitute of “clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning.” I find this definition somewhat vague and impersonal. To provide an example, someone with social anxiety (or even generalized anxiety) could feel very encumbered by a daily activity as simple as class participation, a class presentation or even interacting with peers at a party. Depression can keep a student from handing in work on time (or altogether) or from seeking an occupation (as sometimes it is difficult to motivate a victim of depression from doing well…anything at all!)  (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, pg. 145) Here is an account on what it’s like to live with depression: http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2013/05/depression-part-two.html   1545763_267237106763289_1191589482_n.jpgtumblr_o5u9s5jBHG1vo3jewo1_500.gif
  3. NO ONE WANTS TO TALK ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH! It’s such a sensitive subject that  it’s brought up most, unfortunately, after shootings. That is arguably the worst time to address mental health as it’s possible that adds to the stigma around mentally ill persons (perpetuating the erroneous notion that violence and mental illness are inextricably linked) Most sufferers are NOT perpetrators of violence but rather victims.  (Oliver J. 2015) i-dont-want-to-talk-about-it.gif
  4. Some mental disorders are occur together like mental disorders and substance use disorders. In certain circumstances, it’s difficult to determine whether substance abuse caused mental illness or mental illness caused substance abuse (it’s the whole which came first – the chicken or the egg spiel). Regardless, some theorize that using alcohol and other drugs is a coping mechanism for the mentally ill (a way of self-medicating)  (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, pg. 147)giphy.gif
  5. Over the years, there have been very poor methods to treating the mentally ill. There have been asylums or “snake pits” which often worsened conditions. Greyhound therapy has been implemented which essentially takes severely mentally ill inpatients and gives them a one-way ticket out of town and into another city. Additionally, 2 million sufferers of mental illness end up in local jails. Using the criminal justice system as a means of treating the mentally ill has obviously proven ineffective and detrimental. Here is one big wake up call that says “Bring in the social workers!” (Oliver J. 2015) giphy.gif
  6. Many social workers, rather than meeting with a person and merely asking them how they feel, they are agents of CHANGE… doing everything it takes for them to live individually. There are programs designed for their needs. (Oliver J. 2015)

 

Here is a powerful video told from the perspective of a woman with mental illness:

 

 

 

 

Sources:

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

Oliver, J. (Writer), & Hosickson, J. (Director). (2015). Mental Health [Television series episode] In T. Carvell (Executive Producer), Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. New York City, NY: HBO.

The Role of Social Workers in Chronic Illness and Disability Care

by Marisa Bordowitz

  1. Scientific advances have been rampant thus extending the life span of people – including those with chronic illness in the U.S. It’s up to social workers to fulfill the complex task of improving or maintaining a positive quality of life for these disadvantaged individuals. Additionally, caring for an individual suffering chronic illness differs immensely than caring for one merely suffering a very temporary injury or condition. Care does not cease after a period of time. It must be continuous. (Findley, 2013 p. 83-84 ) tumblr_myh6941Dcc1qiyzppo1_400.gif
  2. One does not simply “care for someone with chronic illness”. Care and treatment must be a proactive, well thought out process. It should never be reactive as that only responds to the symptoms rather than actively (there’s that word again!) working to treat the illness.  (Findley, 2013 p.84 ) 200_s.gif
  3. The ecosystem perspective and the person-in-environment perspective does exactly what the latter sounds like: focuses on the patient and his/her environment. The ecosystem perspective only differs in that it does so on a MACRO level. It also communicates the interdependence of human issues, life circumstances, and social conditions in the client’s life. It provides assessment of BOTH strengths AND weaknesses (now that’s a change from the strength perspective) in these areas or interactions.  The heart/purpose of this perspective is to fathom the patient’s obstacles on a level that takes into account his/her social surroundings as well as view the client in his/her individual sociocultural environment. This perspective can be responsible for FLEXIBILITY, maximum accommodation, and “client-specific treatment approaches” . (Findley, 2013 p.89)giphy.gif
  4. ALSO popular is the behavioral model (also similar to what it sounds like) which fixates on conditioning and altering detrimental behavior. It has been implemented to diminish self-damaging behavior among the mentally challenged. Positive and negative reinforcement is executed. The model is more interested in actively changing rather than bothering to ask why change happens. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p.224).raw.gif
  5. Social workers advocate for their clients, performing tasks that they’re unable to do themselves. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p.226).images
  6. Still don’t understand why social workers are key to the CCM (Chronic Care Model)? Think of it this way: their training encompasses “theories of human behavior, empowerment, discrimination, cultural awareness, family relations theories, and interpersonal communication”. These can all be KEY to assisting patients with chronic illness/disabilities!!!! We need their flexibility and sensitivity for misunderstood individuals. (Findley, 2013 p.91)

4067-56085-1-PB.jpg

 

 

Works Cited

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

Findley, P. A. (2013). Social work practice in the chronic care model: Chronic illness and disability care. Journal of Social Work, 14(1), 83-95.

Facts About School Social Work and HOW to be an effective school social worker

by Marisa Bordowitz

  1. Adjusting to school (and learning in a rigid environment) can be a challenge considering the intricate social, emotional and developmental obstacles children can suffer. With rampant family pressures and erratic economic environment, it’s no wonder that students exhibit behavioral problems. Once the No Child Left Behind Act was implemented, the strain on educators to accommodate disadvantaged pupils increased. Evidently, most teachers of conventional school settings are ill-equipped to deal with such pupils. Thus, the demand for school social workers is high. It’s social workers who impact students’ adjustment and academic achievement. (Diehl & Andy, 2008 p. 1-2).tumblr_msg63x40ZD1rcngpwo1_500.gif
  2. School social workers have been proponents public education reform! A movement of the 1990s is responsible for community schools, family-based resource centers, school-linked services, and school-based health services. The discharge of these services has proved to augment students’ physical and emotional well-being, scholarly attainments, and ensure heightened quality of family life. (Diehl & Andy, 2008 p. 2).200_s.gif1f58e2e134b8c3798201bc76a686e500
  3. There is no black and white in social work. Confidentiality in a school setting is not simple. The inquiry to ALWAYS make is why someone of (the same or higher) authority would want files released. Despite your opinion, it’s important to explore other ones (playing devil’s advocate) and act as a mediator within the work space. (Sam Bligen, MSW, 2016)consequences
  4. If you don’t know, ASK! If you don’t ask. If you don’t ask, you won’t know. Engaging in collateral contact can be key. Sometimes making a phone call to a child’s parents or partaking in a home visit can make a world of a difference. One must communicate prior to concluding. Among young ones in particular, stories tend to mesh together. There is an investigation role to take on within schools.  (Sam Bligen, MSW, 2016)url
  5.  Form a network. It’s of use to “phone a friend” or rely on other social workers you interact with. Engage in multiple perspectives. Get a female perspective if you’re a male and a male perspective if you’re a female. Asking for help is incumbent on our growth in a very difficult profession.  (Sam Bligen, MSW, 2016)tumblr_m9ypk8KUu51r089bd.gif
  6. Humor can be very useful in school social work. It is, however, necessary to pick up on cues (and monitor how your humor is being received). Get ready to work with students who refuse to speak. If they won’t speak, drawing or writing can be effective. Through drawings, young children are able to express themselves. Don’t be quick to judge children. Aggression at a young age is learnt. (Sam Bligen, MSW, 2016)

bender.gif

 

 

 

Sources:

 

Bligen , S. MSW. (2016)

Diehl, D., & Frey, A. (2008). Evaluating a Community-School Model of Social Work Practice. School Social Work Journal, 32(2), 2.

 

REASONS SOCIAL WORKERS ARE NEEDED IN THE REALM OF CHILD WELFARE

by Marisa Bordowitz

  1. Child welfare entails services imparted to at risk children and their families (who have been referred to child protective services due to neglect or abuse).  Experiencing such maltreatment is wholly emotionally taxing. Children essentially, (in many ways) are voiceless. They need to be advocated for. SOCIAL WORKERS are a voice for the voiceless!  (Rittner & Wodarski, 1999. p. 217) child-in-crib-bw.jpgurl.jpg
  2. Intensive family services have been implemented recently which means child welfare has undergone some changes. For instance, foster care has been the central means of protection but in attempts to amend families (and in part to avoid the transience of foster care) , intensified family services/family preservation programs are being developed. These services call for highly trained social workers well informed on family-based interventions, crisis stabilization, family dynamics, advocacy (of course!), and brokering services. (Rittner & Wodarski, 1999. p. 228) 200_s.gif
  3. Social workers also must:  Prepare parents or families for their children’s homecoming (as children are liable to change in foster care or other out-of-home placements prompting feelings of confusion and unforeseen behavior). They must reacquaint families and provide some direction in coping with (and responding to) aforementioned unforeseen behavior. Often children also feel loss (having acclimated/attaching themselves to their foster homes) and social workers can provide assistance there as well. (Rittner & Wodarski, 1999. p. 228) 4a0ea23f13c2842cb68b36cc72cfce51
  4. Neglect is the failure of caretakers to meet a child’s physical, emotional, mental, educational, and/or social needs. 52 % of about 1 million child abuse cases are caused by neglect. 12 % of these cases encompass sexual abuse, 25 % physical abuse and the remainder emotional or psychological abuse (Dinitto & Mcneece, 2008. p.239) tumblr_myvo19d0sW1qaf3uxo1_500.gif
  5. Social workers are instrumental to children as they recover from violence, poverty, neglect and truly anything impeding a child’s physical and emotional well-being (DiNitto& McNeece, 2008, p.239)

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Rittner, B., & Wodarski, J. (1999). Differential uses for BSW and MSW educated social workers in child welfare services. Children and Youth Services Review, 21(3), 217-235.

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

The Horrors of Substance Abuse and Where Social Workers Come In

by Marisa Bordowitz 

  1. Let’s get down to statistics: Around 15 million people abuse alcohol, 4 million abuse drugs, and 3 million people suffer from both alcohol and drug disorder (Dinitto & McNeece, 2008 p. 175). 9 % of the United States population suffers from substance abuse.  In other words, 22.5 million people 12 years or older have a dependence on alcohol or other drugs. It goes without saying that millions of family members are also affected (experiencing something similar to secondary PTSD in a sense) (Straussner, 2012, p. 127). “The whole family becomes addicted to the addict.” Many families also find themselves in denial.  Additionally, in Binghamton, 100 people die every year of heroin overdoses. That number is staggering especially considering Binghamton’s population of around 47,376 persons. (Hartblay, M. CASAC., 2016)  teen-substance-abuse-1.jpg
  2. Social workers have been encountering substance abusers since the occupation’s commencement. They implement the strengths approach to aid their clients, viewing substance abuse as a disease rather than a “poor lifestyle choice”. The profession also acknowledges the many factors at play that impact abusers (Vassello, J.D., 2016)giphy.gif
  3. The major issues surrounding substance abuse are: a) consuming more of the substance for a longer duration than intended, b) the desire to cease use (or at the very least curtail it) but the inability to do so, c) squandering extended periods of time either obtaining, using or recovering from a substance, d) urges to tamper with the substance, e) shortcoming surrounding work, school, and/or home life due to abuse, f) persistence in use despite relationship issues, g) surrendering hobbies/social activities to the drug, h) substance use with disregard for perils i) substance use despite awareness of mental/physical problems aggravated by the substance j) developing a tolerance, k) symptoms of withdrawal ameliorated by using the substance  (Vassello, J.D., 2016)giphy-2.gif
  4. Many times, substance abuse stems from trauma (predominantly childhood trauma). Substance abuse becomes a coping mechanism or a means to deal with trauma they’ve bottled up (or feel they have no means of processing) (Hartblay, M. CASAC., 2016)
  5. Diagnostics pose as an obstacle for social workers because: clients can have more than one diagnosis, denial is HUGE among substance abusers, symptoms from the drug also mirror those of a mental illness, and many abusers have become masters of disguise – hiding their disorder to achieve success.  (Vassello, J.D., 2016)aslide46.gif
  6. Despite the stigma surrounding substance abuse (and its constantly being viewed through a moral lens), it is imperative that social workers look beyond the stigma, acting as an agent of change – diagnosing their clients and working to help them overcome their addiction or illness (because it is in fact, an illness!!!!) (Vassello, J.D., 2016)uslide-2

 

 

 

Sources:
Straussner, S. (2012). Clinical Treatment of Substance Abusers: Past, Present and Future. Clinical Social Work Journal Clin Soc Work J, 40, 127-133.

Vassello. J.  J.D (2016). Social Work and Substance Abuse Powerpoint

Hartblay , M. CASAC. March 17, 2016

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

The Truth About the Walking Wounded and Military Social Work

by Marisa Bordowitz

Military social workers have vital role…. what does it entail?

a) assisting veterans in their recovery from the traumas of warfare, b) developing and conferring about military procedures that abate psychosocial havoc while maximizing wellness and, c) executing programs curtailing the odds of psychosocial issues including domestic violence, drug abuse or mental illness.

…and those are just a few of their many undertakings ! (Daley, 2003, pg. 437-438)giphy-1.gif

PTSD among veterans is very common. Thus, social workers  implement cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT encourages mindfulness. It allows the veteran (or any victim of trauma) to accept their ordeal. CBT can be used for chronic pain as well (and chronic pain CBT is applicable to treatment of PTSD). CBT also introduces relaxation techniques and alternatives to ameliorating stress and intensity.  (Connie Sturgeon, LCSW-R, 2016)

giphy-2.gif

Social workers often advocate for yoga and healthy eating habits. Certain foods can trigger PTSD symptoms like insomnia, for example.  (Connie Sturgeon, LCSW-R, 2016)

giphy-3.gif

Normalizing behavior is an enormous tactic. It’s imperative veterans know what they’re experiencing normal. Often they feel “crazy”. Using the strengths perspective can be beneficial, acknowledging the contribution veterans have made to their country (and commending them on their valor)  (Connie Sturgeon, LCSW-R, 2016

giphy.gif

Veterans aren’t the only sufferers. Spouses of veterans are subject to secondary PTSD. Marriages crumble due to abandonment issues and night terrors of their partner.  Spouses tire of protecting their children. They feel their lives have been altered for the worse. They often become isolated (as their husband does not wish to leave the house for he fears for his own safety). (Connie Sturgeon, LCSW-R, 2016)

PTSD-Blog-Post-Image-2.jpgSources:

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

Sturgeon , C. LCSW-R. (2016)