Best of #HealthPolicyValentines 2017

I often share how social media can develop a sense of community. That causes can be brought together through a hashtag or like minded individuals can tackle problems via a twitter chat.  This is a good example of a community coming together on twitter to share concerns and also have a little fun.

#HealthPolicyValentine was formed to “send love” to their favorite health policy change.  If I am recalling correctly, it was started last year by Emma Sandoe on twitter. She got the ball rolling again this year…

I am sure people would love to send Martin Shkreli some “love”. He was the person responsible for the now infamous price hike of the EpiPen. With the incoming Trump administration there was a lot of anxiety about the Affordable Care Act…

But also there was hope and solutions proposed…

 

The creativity was also wonderful…

 

This hashtag not only brings out some fun things but creates an ongoing dialogue. It also creates a running list of people who are knowledgeable and passionate about healthcare policy. I collected more of my favorites in the below Storify. Please enjoy the laughter but also the sense of community and passion around improving healthcare policy…

img_2822

 

Blogging On Suicide: A Resource


Suicide is a tragically common event. Behind every death by suicide is a story and it’s often a story that needs to be told. How the story is told matters. Some headlines in newspapers are not always friendly. They are often stigmatizing and sensationalized. Others have published ReportingOnSuicide.org to provide guidance to journalists.

In the blogging community we have the unique opportunity to use our organic reach to tell the stories that matter to us. How we use words around suicide can have an impact. Bloggers have a voice to be a force for positive change.

From the social work perspective I had the privilege of writing “Let’s Talk About Suicide: #LanguageMatters” with Dr. Jonathan Singer. We reviewed how words around suicide can effect clinical care. The simplest example I can give is saying that one does not “commit” suicide, somebody “dies by suicide”.  Committing suicide further stigmatizes and criminalizes the act.  This matters not only on a one to one level but a larger level. The media and social media also needs to measure their response to suicide. That language and how stories are crafted can have both a negative and positive impact on our audience.

BloggingOnSuicide.Org provides another unique perspective for those who generate their own content from the ground up.  Suicide Awareness Voices of Education have created this wonderful document that not only focuses on language but focuses on critical questions to ask before and after publication. If you are a blogger that has or will write about suicide, please click on the image below to view the resource.  As bloggers we have a unique opportunity to change how stories about suicide are told…

img_2761

 

 

President Trump, The Women’s March, & Lost Opportunities

Did you ever regret something?

Sure we all have regrets; when we reflect on decisions we make and wish there was a rewind button. Sometimes you realize this it the next day, the next week, or even the next year. I have seen this sentiment of this post shared in tweets and other mediums (no pun intended). It was important elaborate on this from the social work perspective.

Here we are 36 hours after one of the largest organized Marches in history. The Women’s Marches in the United States and around the world united people for Women’s and other civil rights. Although there are no official numbers they appear quite staggering. Vox compiled some of the estimates of attendance here…

The attendance was large and it mattered. It mattered a lot. During his inaugural address President Trump asserted “We will unify this country”. The Women’s Marches were quite the demonstration of strength for Woman’s rights. This was mostly led by individuals that oppose President Trump’s policies. His immediate response was..

 

I get there were signs and individuals questioning the election. I know people will respond to this post in that manner. However these Women’s Marches were not just about the election results. They were about policy moving forward. He did do a follow up tweet that was a little “kinder”…

However these tweets appear to be his only public acknowledgement that millions of people gathered together around women’s and other civil rights. His campaign promises and actions often targeted Mexicans, Muslims, and yes women. His Vice President and other members of his cabinet have questioned the rights of the LGBT community.

The lack of public acknowledgment of these marches and their significance is a HUGE missed opportunity (some might say big league). Rather than dismiss these protests as challenge to the election, he and others should look at some of the content. This was about policies and practices that are discriminatory, violate civil rights, and take away services from the vulnerable.

Policies President Trump have questioned put healthcare, medicaid, medicare, special education, and mental health care at risk. That is what I think it was about every single day.

If he truly wanted “unify this country” he should meet with the conference organizers and find out what the issues were. The results are in and now it is time to reflect on how we can meet the needs of the most vulnerable. On the other side of aisle, Democrats are now faced with the same challenge. Where did they go wrong? Where are the divides and how we can we heal them? Democrats can’t just sit on their hands and rail against the election results either. Especially being the leader of the free world comes with the responsibility to take further action.

Yes Mr. President, people are not happy about the election results. Although people are questioning your legitimacy there are more people questioning “Where do we go from here?”. What do your policies mean for my 15 year old client with a severe mental health problem? What do they mean to countless numbers who rely on Planned Parenthood for preventative care? (a gentle reminder that it’s not just about abortion). What do your education policies mean for students with disabilities? How will your immigration policies effect the lives of families trying to make a better life? What does the GOP replacement for Obamacare actually entail? What … well you get the idea.

My challenge to President Trump is if he was truly wants to “unify this country” he needs to meet with march organizers. Find out what the issues are. I assure you it is well beyond the fact that you are now the President. By continuing to ignore the other messages and the magnitude of The Women’ Marches you will continue to miss an opportunity. You may realize this tomorrow, next week, next year, but by then it may be too late.

Mr. President, myself and others will be waiting for you to take up this opportunity. In the meantime I urge others to look at the Women’s March website and find out how you can take action…