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April 2021 Connect with us Facebook Twitter Sign up  |  Archive  |  Advertise
Editor's e-Note
The effects of racism cannot be overstated. Overlooked and ignored by many for far too long, racism stretches into everyday life occurrences through multiple channels, many of which are unrecognizable to those unaffected by it.

This month’s E-News Exclusive raises a salient point: Racial trauma needs to be formally recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

We welcome your comments at Visit our website at, like our Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter.

— Lee DeOrio, editorial director
e-News Exclusive
It Is Time to Formally Recognize Racial Trauma
By Annika Olson, MA, MPP

For those of us in the behavioral health field, DSM is a familiar acronym. It stands for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a handbook long used by health care professionals as a detailed guidebook of standards for rendering official diagnoses.

The manual has been updated seven times since its first publication in 1952 when the first DSM-I classified 106 disorders. The most recent edition, published in 2013, includes 365 afflictions. Yet, one well-documented form of emotional injury has not been included: racial trauma. Four hundred years after the first slave ship arrived in Virginia from Africa, 155 years after Emancipation, and 65 years after Emmett Till’s murder, it’s time for that to change.

Currently, racial trauma—the mental injury caused by encounters with racial bias, discrimination, and racism—is not acknowledged in the DSM-5. Yet, it’s a phenomenon that has been extensively researched and painstakingly documented and is widely regarded by both mental and physical health practitioners as a serious public health issue.

We know that racism causes physical and emotional trauma, and that members of racial and ethnic minority groups suffer the most deleterious effects of discrimination. Black Americans report poorer mental health after experiencing or witnessing police violence, and, in the past year alone, anxiety and depression have more than tripled in the Black community—jumping from 8% in January 2019 to 35% in June of 2020. Studies have shown that Black adolescents average more than five racial discrimination experiences per day, both online and offline, greatly contributing to depressive symptoms. Depression can precede suicide; the rate of suicide among Black youth has been increasing faster over the past decade than among any other racial/ethnic group. Perhaps most disturbingly, Black elementary school–aged children—youngsters between the ages of 5 and 12—have begun taking their own lives at twice the rate of same-aged whites. In 2020, as racism and police brutality have intensified, suicide in the Black community has become what some officials refer to as another deadly crisis.

Racism has also negatively affected the mental health of Asian Americans. Pew recently reported that, since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, 4 in 10 Asian adults say that people have acted uncomfortable around them because of their race or ethnicity, and they have been subject to racist slurs and jokes. There have been nearly 1,500 reported incidents of anti-Asian racism in the form of physical and verbal attacks, and one-half of these took place at private businesses.

Full story »
Industry Insight
Social Work Profession Awarded Federal Grant to Develop Interstate Licensure Compact

The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), as part of an initiative to promote licensure portability for military spouses, has awarded a $500,000 grant for the development of an interstate licensure compact for social workers.

A compact is a legal agreement between states that will allow licensed social workers to practice in those states participating in the compact. Currently, licensed social workers must seek and receive licensure in each state in which they wish to practice.

“NASW is grateful to the DOD for recognizing the need for license portability for the many military spouses who are social workers, and for greater access to social work services,” says Angelo McClain, PhD, LICSW, CEO of NASW. “NASW is proud to be a leader in these efforts and ensure a compact framework which reflects the NASW Code of Ethics and meets the needs of both social workers and the clients we serve.”

The grant, awarded through a competitive proposal process, will be provided to the Council of State Governments (CSG), which will oversee the development of the compact. The Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) will be the lead on the effort; NASW and the Clinical Social Work Association (CSWA) will be partners. The DOD funding will cover the initial 12- to 16-month phase of a multiyear process to implement a compact. The compact legislation must then be enacted in each state that wishes to participate. NASW chapters will play a key role in advocacy efforts to enact compact legislation in the states. A plan for collaborating on and funding the subsequent phases of this initiative will be developed by NASW, CSWA, ASWB and other national social work organizations.

Read more »
Products & Services
Purdue Offers New Online Graduate Certificate in Telemental Health Counseling

Older, lower-income, and rural individuals frequently lack easy access to mental health services where they live, but technological advances and the burgeoning field of telemental health hold out the promise of bringing these services to them.

Telemental health provides its own set of challenges for mental health professionals. But there are currently few opportunities for these professionals to obtain relevant training in how to address those challenges, as well as applied training in telemental health best practices.

A new online graduate certificate program from Purdue University represents a leap forward in addressing that training deficit, as well as enabling professionals in the field to enhance their careers or practices.

“This program doesn't really exist anywhere else,” says Kelly LeMaire, PhD, HSPP, assistant director of the Purdue Psychology Treatment and Research Clinics and a clinical assistant professor and licensed psychologist.

The new Telemental Health Counseling Graduate Certificate, a collaboration between Purdue’s College of Education and College of Health and Human Sciences through Purdue Online, also stands out for its focus on serving diverse populations, including those who traditionally don't have good access to mental health services.

Read more »
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Edith Prentiss advocated for more wheelchair-accessible taxis and fought to ensure public transportation could be used by all of the public, reports the New York Daily News.

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Race-based stress, such as being unable to raise concerns about racism in schools, is a factor causing educators of color to leave the profession, according to The Conversation.
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