University News

Marijuana, Opioid Use, and Mental Health Issues to be Highlighted at Regional Social Work Conference

Published: May 11, 2018 | Categories: Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Arts and Sciences, All News
Older adult hand gently holding a toddlers hand.

The University will host the 36th annual Regional Social Work Conference on Wednesday, May 23 from 8:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The event features more than 40 workshops designed to enhance the knowledge and skills of social workers and human services professionals of all experience levels. Presentations will focus on important issues facing working professionals when dealing with children and families, the elderly, mental health, substance abuse, multicultural issues, and personal development.

Nanci Ginty Butler, LICSW, will deliver the keynote address entitled “Understanding Trauma Stewardship and Self-Care as an Ethical Imperative.” The talk will address the current climate for human service professionals, a climate frequently characterized by stress, turmoil, and trauma. This presentation will provide an overview of the current understanding of the impact of trauma on the brain and body, and will explore how to use that knowledge to help others, and perhaps even more importantly ourselves, cope effectively with the resulting feelings, thoughts, and behaviors in order to process the trauma in the healthiest way possible.

Butler is a seasoned clinician and trainer with 20 years of experience. Her specialties include trauma response; adolescent mental health; family systems; school-based programming; community-based psychotherapy; program analysis, development, and management; and suicide prevention and postvention. She holds a specialty certificate in family therapy, is a certified instructor for QPR Gatekeeper Course for suicide prevention, a certified instructor in youth mental health first aid, and a certified trainer for the signs of suicide school-based prevention curriculum.

With the legalization of recreational and medicinal marijuana, it is important for clinicians to have a basic understanding of its health effects and the evidence-based research around its use. Western New England University’s Dr. Corey Laskey, clinical assistant professor of pharmacy, and Dr. Jilla Sabeti, assistant professor of pharmacology, will explore the effects of marijuana on the mind and body and the evidence behind its use for medicinal purposes. Laskey and Sabeti will also address the nationwide opioid crisis, including how social workers can recognize the signs of opioid abuse and what support can be offered those who struggle with addiction.

The conference will also feature the presentation of the 22nd annual Jim Quinn Human Service Award to Richard Niedel for his more than 43-year career working in Human Services field. The Jim Quinn Award honors a human service professional who made outstanding contributions to the profession.

Registration is now open and will remain open until the day of the conference. The full-day conference cost is $160 ($145 if registering before May 16). Full-time Western New England University students may attend for $35, while non-employed, full-time students from other colleges and universities may attend for $45. For more information call 413-796-2173 or register on-line.

The conference is a joint effort of Western New England University’s Bachelor of Social Work program, Social Work Advisory Council, and Office of Professional Development.