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Social Work Today
E-Newsletter    September 2022
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Editor's E-Note

The new 988 hotline is a game-changer as well as a long time coming. The service promises to provide essential help to those with mental health needs and questions.

However, the current labor environment suggests it may be difficult to fill the positions needed to field all the calls. That’s where, according to this month’s E-News Exclusive, social workers and social work students can provide relief.

We welcome your comments at SWTeditor@gvpub.com. Visit our website at www.SocialWorkToday.com, like our Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter.

— Lee DeOrio, editorial director
In This E-Newsletter
E-News Exclusive

The 988 Hotline Needs Social Workers, Students, and Faculty
By Darla Spence Coffey, PhD, MSW

In 2020, Congress designated the new 988 dialing code to be operated through the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) agrees with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration that 988 is a “first step towards a transformed crisis care system in America.”

The 988 hotline, which launched on July 16, will undoubtedly bring a welcome lifeline for people to connect with mental health and suicide prevention services when they urgently need them. Dialing 988 to speak to a counselor or crisis intervention expert will, over time, become as ingrained in our society as calling 911, which launched in 1968 for emergency services.

It is imperative that this hotline be fully staffed to handle the volume of calls and extend care to those in crisis. There are more than 850 accredited social work programs across the country with students and faculty who may be eager to ensure that 988 is set up for success. This is a chance for counties and states, who are by and large left to find ways to staff and fund the hotlines, to look at social workers and especially social work students as a resource to provide care.

A profession based on public trust, social work is focused on providing responsible care to vulnerable clients and communities when they need it. Accredited social work programs require students to complete 400 hours of field experience for a baccalaureate degree and 900 hours for a master’s degree. The CSWE and accredited social work programs view the competencies and experience gained in field courses as essential to becoming a professional social worker who embodies the profession’s required competencies and ethics.

Other Social Work News
‘It’s Becoming Too Expensive to Live’: Anxious Older Adults Try to Cope With Limited Budgets
Inflation, unaffordable rent increases and housing costs, and medical expenses are just some of the reasons older adults are struggling to make ends meet, KHN reports.

Lack of Standardized Data Collection Impedes Efforts to Advance Health Equity
Health equity is a national priority, and in order to make advances, social determinants of health data collection should be standardized, according to Premier.
Industry Insight
Houston Organizations Unite Against Hate Crimes

Hate crime data from the FBI is alarming. Since 2020, hate crimes have surged and continue their rancid ascent. As they continue to permeate the fabric of society, the University of Houston (UH) has been called upon by the Houston Coalition Against Hate (HCAH) to guide community-based organizations, which are on the front lines in leading communities through crisis, to come together to form a consolidated response to hate. HCAH is a network of community-based organizations, institutions, and leaders who have united to reduce hate and encourage belonging.

“What I would like to see in the city of Houston, and it can begin with community-based organizations, is a collective response that demonstrates our intolerance of hate is more powerful than the intimidation that a perpetrator of a hate crime would try to propagate against an entire community,” says Aabha Brown, LMSW, a clinical associate professor at the UH Graduate College of Social Work, whose academic review and recommendations are published in a specially commissioned HCAH report “Building Hate Crime Response Capacity in Community Based Organizations.” Her team of researchers included colleagues at the UH Graduate College of Social Work: Juan Barthelemy, PhD, LCSW-S, an assistant professor, and Donna Amtsberg, LCSW-S, a clinical assistant professor.

Products & Services
New App Screens for Substance Use Disorders, Connects People With Treatment

A new mobile application called Connect2Care offers screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment services to help US health care providers identify and treat individuals who may be at risk for substance use and mental health disorders.

The app, which is aimed at health care providers, pharmacists, and others who work with patients at risk of substance use disorder, was developed by the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy’s Program Evaluation and Research Unit (PERU) through a five-year partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) in response to the escalating opioid epidemic.

“The goal of this app is to build a bridge between different services and help address substance use and mental health disorders, which often occur concurrently,” says Abby Cotton, deputy director of innovative health services initiatives at PERU. “We hope that this tool sparks conversations between patients and providers and leads to early identification of patients in need so that they can be connected with appropriate care.”

Featured Jobs
The nation's top employers and recruiters of social workers advertise in Social Work Today magazine and post their job openings on AlliedHealthCareers.com. Check out the most recent opportunities that have been submitted by employers across the country!

Featured Employer
California Correctional Health Care Services

Clinical Social Worker
Statewide, California, United States

Clinical Social Worker — Psychiatric Inpatient Program
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