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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Social Work

The impact of suicide: World Suicide Prevention Day and why suicide awareness matters

Each year over one million people worldwide die by suicide. In the United States, approximately 42,000 people die by suicide each year, with a suicide occurring every 12.3 minutes. It is the 10th leading cause of death overall, and the 2nd leading cause of death for youth under the age of 24. For World Suicide Prevention Day, we’d like to tell you why this matters to us and why it should matter to you.

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The NHS and the Church of England

Politicians are more than anxious over negative public opinion on the National Health Service, falling over backwards to say that the NHS is “safe in our hands.” Meanwhile, the Church of England is concerned about losing “market-share,” especially over conducting funerals. One way of linking these two extremely large British institutions is in terms of life-style choices.

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Building community: lessons from swimming

What would be the impact if our current policy to insure safety and prevent drowning were to pay people to swim with each swimmer? No one could go swimming unless they had a paid professional, or paraprofessional, swim with them. Our present policy in human services and mental health is kind of like paying people to insure the safety and well-being of others.

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Blowin’ in the wind

I am, I suppose, part of the “cognoscenti” in the area of social identity, social bias, and social justice. I’m a tenure-track assistant professor of social work, I’m a diversity, equity, and inclusion consultant, and I recently wrote a book on how to understand and overcome challenges associated with race.

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It takes a whole child to raise a village

“When we get our story wrong, we get our future wrong,” David Korten wrote in Change the Story, Change the Future. If children are indeed our future, then the stories we use to educate and help them come of age are the most important stories to get right.

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From domestic violence to coercive control

When a major obstacle is removed to our progress, idealist intellectuals like myself rejoice. I was introduced to one such obstacle in the early l970s, when a woman hiding from her abusive husband in our home told us “violence wasn’t the worst part.” Like the millions of other victimized women we have served in the ensuing years, she understood that the prevailing equation of partner abuse with domestic violence has little relation to her lived experience of oppression.

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The consequences of neglect

More than 70 years ago, psychologist Rene Spitz first described the detrimental effects of emotional neglect on children raised in institutions, and yet, today, over 7 million children are estimated to live in orphanages around the world. In many countries, particularly in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the rate of institutionalization of poor, orphaned, and neglected children has actually increased in recent years, according to UNICEF.

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Q&A with social worker Anderson Al Wazni

March is National Social Work Month. This year’s theme is Forging Solutions Out of Challenges. One social worker who is forging ahead is Anderson Al Wazni of Raleigh, NC. Anderson’s research and passion explores Muslim women’s feminist identity and empowerment in her community and beyond. We sat down with Anderson to discuss her role as a social worker and future plans.

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Preventing financial exploitation of older adults

Financial entitlement is one domain of financial exploitation. In 2010 Conrad and colleagues defined financial entitlement as: a belief held primarily by adult children that they can take their older parent(s)’ money to spend on themselves without permission. Although some adult children argue that the money is their inheritance and thus already earmarked for them, using an older person’s money without permission is exploitation.

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Why ‘ageism’ is bad for your health

According to research conducted by Levy, Slade, Kunkel, and Kasl in 2002, the average lifespan of those with high levels of negative beliefs about old age is 7.5 years shorter than those with more positive beliefs. In other words, ‘ageism’ may have a cumulative harmful effect on personal health. But what is ageism – and what is its impact, both for society and healthcare?

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The traumatising language of risk in mental health nursing

Despite progress in the care and treatment of mental health problems, violence directed at self or others remains high in many parts of the world. Subsequently, there is increasing attention to risk assessment in mental health. But it this doing more harm than good?

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Police killings and the Supreme Court

In 2010, Israel Leija was killed by a police officer during a high speed chase, which ended when Mullenix, a police officer, stationed on an overpass, shot several bullets into Leija’s car. The chase began when the police tried to arrest Leija at a drive-in restaurant for violating parole on a misdemeanor charge. When the officer approach Leija in his car, Leija drove off, with the police giving chase, while several other officers set up tire spikes along the road to stop him.

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