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Addictions: Gambling  

Lia Nower and Kyle Caler

Gambling disorder is a significant public health concern. The recent and continued proliferation of land-based and interactive gambling opportunities has increased both accessibility and acceptability of gambling in the United States and abroad, resulting in greater and more varied participation. However, there is currently no designated federal funding for prevention, intervention, treatment, or research, and states are left to adopt varying standards on an ad hoc basis. Social workers receive little or no training in screening or treating problem gamblers, though research suggests that a significant proportion of those with mental health and other addictive disorders also gamble excessively. Raising awareness about the nature and scope of gambling disorder and its devastating implications for families and children is a first-step toward integrating gambling into prevention, assessment and treatment education in social work. This, in turn, will increase the chances of early identification and intervention across settings and insure that social workers can lend a knowledgeable and credible voice to addressing this hidden addiction.


Addictions: Tobacco  

Mansoo Yu and Rachel Fischer

Tobacco use is a major public-health concern in the United States. Intervention and prevention strategies for tobacco use are an urgent public-health priority because tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death. To help social workers better understand tobacco use problems, this entry presents an overview, including definitions of terms, the scope and impact of tobacco use problems in terms of different segments of the population (that is, age, gender, race or ethnicity, geographic location, and education level or socioeconomic status), etiology of tobacco use (for example, biological or genetic; psychiatric; psychosocial; or environmental or sociocultural factors), policy history, tobacco prevention, clinical issues (such as cessation desire, treatment and success, or screening tools for tobacco use disorder and tobacco withdrawal), and practice interventions for tobacco use problems. Based on the information, the roles of social workers will be addressed.


Mental Health Policy Overview  

Christine M. Rine

Mental health practice is inextricably linked to how this concept has been understood in a historical context from which policies and systems of care develop. How mental health is perceived has shaped policy, as much as policy has influenced how mental health has been defined and subsequently treated. Early frameworks evolved, furthering the multidisciplinary nature of policies and services highlighting social and environmental contributions. Holistic approaches that appreciate social determinants are a comparatively new way to understand and advance mental health policy that underlies access to insurance, programs, and services based on qualifications and eligibility. A chronological and historical overview highlights interconnectedness and provides context to the development of mental health policies, initiatives, and systems of care. Content specific to roles of the social work profession should be included.


Health Care Reform  

Cynthia Moniz, Stephen H. Gorin, and Terry Mizrahi

National health care reform in the United States, from its introduction into the public policy agenda at the turn of the 20th century through policy debates and legislative proposals more than a century later, has achieved limited success with universal coverage for health and mental health services. Opposition to government-sponsored health care has always been present. The extent of the opposition has depended on the type of reform proposed and the era in which it occurred. Medicare and Medicaid reform in the 1960s greatly expanded access and coverage for older adults and low income individuals and families. But, the first true effort to reach universal coverage occurred with the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010.


Management: Overview  

Bruce Friedman

This entry provides a broad introduction to management or administration, one of the methods of practice employed by social workers to achieve professional and organizational objectives. The contributions of management to the human services, the history of administration as a practice in social work, and the evolution of education for management are traced. Practitioners define management’s roles and functions and also address the theoretical perspectives related to the performance of managing others. Finally, significant issues and likely future developments in this field are reviewed.


Psychotropic Medications and Contemporary Social Work  

Kia J. Bentley and Christopher P. Kogut

To advance the discussion of the interface between psychopharmacology and contemporary social work practice, we present a brief primer on the different types of medications used in psychiatry and our current understanding of how they work. We also discuss how decisions are made about psychiatric medications in the real world to treat some of the more common mental illnesses. Along the way, we will also present some of the recent research in psychopharmacology of particular interest to social workers and the clients they serve, as well as some of the future directions we can expect in the years to come. From that foundation, we review major activities of social workers in psychiatric medication, address some of the key controversies centering on issues of access, the role of drug companies, and especially medication for children. We conclude with brief reflections on what is “best practice” and notions of the future of interdisciplinary practice in health, mental health, and beyond.