Medical social worker Kunbi Oluwasusi traveled to help people in a California hospital as the coronavirus began to grip the US, balancing support for patients and health care workers while also advocating for people facing substance abuse and homelessness. Despite challenges such as rationed protective equipment, "[b]eing able to work through some of the COVID-19 pandemic reminded me why I chose to dedicate my career to social work," she writes.
The pandemic has worsened the stress that children in foster care or those transitioning out of it are facing, limiting available support from caseworkers and friends and complicating job and housing prospects. Youth in foster care often have less access to technology than their peers, especially kids in group homes, making it harder to connect through virtual means.
A study in the European Journal of Epidemiology found that youths whose mothers had recorded clinical events for a mental illness were less likely to complete their recommended vaccinations by ages 2 and 5, compared with those whose mothers did not have any mental illness. The findings, based on data involving 479,949 mother-baby pairs in the UK, also showed that the association was strongest in children whose mothers had alcohol and substance misuse disorders.
Black girls who may have depression could be particularly vulnerable during the pandemic, especially as social distancing makes feeling connected with others challenging and events that would normally take place are canceled, says licensed clinical social worker Marline Francois-Madden. "Parents, aunties, uncles, mentors, and grandparents can first support by checking in with them and asking how they're doing with the absence of senior activities," she says.
The Senate has approved by voice vote a bill that would move forward with the Federal Communications Commission's recommendation that a three-digit number -- 988 -- be made available so callers can more easily reach the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The bipartisan measure will now go to the House for approval.
The Minnesota House has approved legislation that would use funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act to support the mental health of farmers, among other measures. Funding would be used for suicide-prevention training and to raise awareness of mental health resources.
The need to humanize the workplace has become clear during the coronavirus pandemic, writes Aaron Hurst, CEO of Imperative. "Over the next few years, we are going to see meaningful conversations between peers become the core mechanism for companies to build human connection, develop soft skills, manage change and care for the mental health of their people," Hurst writes.
Too much positivity and advice can backfire during stressful times. "If we pick up on someone who is a little bit too positive given the state of the world, or feel like they are telling us what to do, it's much easier to get upset, whereas, under normal circumstances, you might not even notice it," says Vaile Wright of the American Psychological Association.
Doctors, nurses, social workers and others on the front lines of the Coronavirus Pandemic are experiencing stress and burnout. Self-care and giving them affirmation helps, NASW members Ashley Carter Youngblood and Kristi Karel told WWMT in Michigan. Read the full article.
What are things social workers can do to cope with the Coronavirus epidemic? Listen to this NASW Social Work Talks Podcast for advice. And this article on NASW's Help Starts Here website that offers consumers advice on how to deal emotionally with crises such as the Coronavirus pandemic.