Traditional mental health settings assign sole treatment authority to the therapist reducing patients to a classified diagnosis followed by the indicated treatment. Traditionally, after reviewing the case history and a brief initial interview, patients are assigned a diagnosis and “told what is good for them.” The caseworker retains total authority over the patient’s treatment plan usually focused on symptom reduction. Case notes are kept confidential even from the patients themselves. Providers feel pressure to document primarily for billing purposes and must submit notes within 24 hours for Medicaid reimbursement. There is little time allotted for consulting with patients to illicit their input on their treatment plan.
“Opioid addiction is here to stay,” said a social work professor we recently interviewed. “But as long as we turn away from the horrors of this widespread addiction and choose to remain in denial, we will not make a concerted effort to widely administer treatment. The pharmaceutical industry has already created both long term treatments and emergency life-saving medications that are simply not being administered on a wide enough scale. I believe that a nationwide effort to make these medications available to anyone trapped in this particular substance abuse disorder should be a number-one priority for the social work profession at large.”
An estimated 4.2 million teenagers and young adults are homeless each year. Children who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless have higher rates of mental health problems such as behavioral issues, anxiety, and depression than children who live in unstable households.
The importance of mental health in programs for homeless young people cannot be overstated. Furthermore, most people's willingness to seek therapy is limited by a lack of access to mental health care. For organizations and services that work with at-risk youth, emphasizing mental health is critical to long-term sustainability.
In a recent study, 81% of teenagers between the ages of thirteen and seventeen reported experiencing more severe stress. Schools are working harder than ever to support their students by integrating social-emotional learning (SEL) into curricula, expanding the availability of mental health services, and enabling teachers to identify the signs of a student's emotional distress and collaborate with social workers or counselors to promptly resolve particular cases.
Let's take a look at how you can support the students' complete social and mental well-being.
We recently interviewed a retired social worker who spent her entire 30-year career working with addicts and alcoholics in residential treatment centers. We were seeking insight into the drug and alcohol abuse epidemic that seems to be getting worse every year. The insights she shared rang with understanding, empathy, and a double dose of common sense.
Addiction is a disease, not a crime. The American Society of Addiction Medicine recognizes addiction as “a treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences. People with addiction use substances or engage in behaviors that become compulsive and often continue despite harmful consequences.”
According to The Sentencing Project, over the past four decades, the number of incarcerated women increased by more than 475%, rising from a total of 26,326 in 1980 to 152,854 in 2020. Also, over half (58%) of imprisoned women have a child under the age of 18.
Bullying is a pervasive problem in schools across the United States. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, about one-third of students aged 12-18 reported being bullied during the school year. The most common type of bullying is verbal abuse, including name-calling, teasing, and making fun of someone. Other types of bullying include physical abuse, cyberbullying, and social exclusion.
For young people, suicide is the third most common cause of death. Suicide can be avoided, though. Young people who are thinking about suicide usually show indicators of despair. Knowing about these symptoms can help friends, family, and educators act promptly and get the aid they require. Numerous social care providers are making an effort to deal with teen mental health difficulties and raise awareness that could be the difference between life and death. Let's shine some light on the subject and determine how we can work together to prevent teen suicide.
As so often happens in our modern 24-hour news cycle the latest crisis pushes any ongoing crisis off the front page and out of public consciousness. COVID 19 and January 6th have all but eliminated the opioid addiction epidemic from our front-page view. However, the crisis has not gone away. Provisional data from CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics indicate that there were an estimated 100,306 drug overdose deaths in the United States during 12-month period ending in April 2021, an increase of 28.5% from the 78,056 deaths during the same period the year before. The new data documents that estimated overdose deaths from opioids increased to 75,673 in the 12-month period ending in April 2021, up from 56,064 the year before. Overdose deaths from synthetic opioids (primarily fentanyl) and psychostimulants such as methamphetamine also increased in the 12-month period ending in April 2021.