Policy BP8: Let’s do drugs!

How has U.S. federal drug and mental health policy positively and negatively affected mental health and substance abuse in the U.S.?  Use at least 2 policies for each (mental health and substance abuse) to defend your answer.

Happy Monday! What a perfect blog post for this part of the semester. I will only speak for myself, but I am in a place where my mental health is suffering. I can probably speak for everyone actually…

Good Stuff

  • NAMH came out of mental health reform. It provides social support and treatment for the mentally ill. They provided protections for those who were targeted by supporters of the eugenics movement.
  • The Mental Health Act of 1946 established the National Institute of Mental Health. This examined the mental health needs of the country. NIMH then released Action for Mental Health that modernized US psychiatric care.
  • The National Association of Mental Illness (NAMI) accepts philanthropy from drug companies and helped with further destigmatization.

Bad Stuff

  • Although deinstitutionalization is a good thing, helping to destigmatize mental health, now there are many mental health patients that are “adrift”, as the book states. This leads to chronic hospitalization and homelessness.
  • Psychotropic meds are now more routine than ever. Heck, I’m on anxiety meds! Meds that should be used within the controlled environment of a hospital are being prescribed to outpatients. The side effects of these drugs make it difficult for someone not in an inpatient facility to function.
  • NAMI takes money from drug companies. I can’t see how this is going to always be a good thing. HINT: special interests.

Overall, the destigmatization of mental illness and the use of drugs to treat mental illness is a very good thing.

Generalist Practice BP 8: Community Group Leadership


    Referring to Brueggeman’s article, what are 3 ways that social workers build community in groups through their leadership? Please explain your answers and give 2 concrete examples of how you have seen these elements accomplished in your own group experiences.

We’re back from Spring Break! This week has had a slow start, and I’m already looking forward to the summer. The quicker we can get done, the quicker we can get to graduation next Spring, right??

How do social workers build community in groups through their leadership?

  1. Gather People Together-as social workers, especially those in a macro environment, we have opportunities to gather people together for a multitude of reasons. Mobilizing community groups for a common purpose gives those groups a sense of belonging and power. In my practicum, I bring groups of kids together for several purposes. One is a group of 4th grade girls that meet to talk about bullying. They talk about their experiences and how to be better friends. Another time I’m able to gather a group is in the larger classroom setting. We talk about social skills, and the children learn how to navigate through the school appropriately.
  2. Express Feelings-social workers have the unique opportunity to motivate others to talk about their feelings. It is our job to create a safe environment for this to happen. In my personal experience, I have attended 12-step groups where the participants were encouraged but not obligated to share their feelings and experiences. One primary motivating factor was the promise of confidentiality in these groups. As a group leader in a school setting, I use open-ended questions and talk about my own experiences to motivate young group members to disclose their own feelings. This encourages the members and shows them they are not alone, and there is a trusted adult who has been through what they might be going through.
  3. Build Confidence-by building trust and showing group members that they are not alone in this world, a social worker can help those group members build confidence. Once confidence is built and maintained, those group members can begin to exact change in their own lives should they choose to do so. With children, confidence-building begins with teaching them a skill set. I led a group of children with anxiety issues, and through a structure curriculum, I was able to teach them tools for coping with their anxiety. Does this work all the time? No. But they feel better knowing they have the right tools to help themselves when they can. As a student in a cohort, it comforts me and gives me confidence knowing that we are all able to help one another. We use social media to disseminate information to each other, and this builds confidence within the group.

Brueggmann, W. G. (2006). In The practice of macro social work. Chapter 4