News of the Month — January 2022
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KRON 4, NBC Bay Area, KTVU Fox 2, Mission Local, KSRO, People’s World, KPIX, and Workers’ World did stories featuring NUHW members Sabrina Chaumette, Jessica Dominguez, Gerald Whitmore, Stephanie Sander, and Ixayanne Baez about mental healthcare workers holding a one-day strike on January 17 over Kaiser Permanente’s refusal to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a paid holiday for them this year. The San Francisco Chronicle also published an Op-Ed from Chaumette.
NUHW members Mickey Fitzpatrick, a psychologist at Kaiser Permanente, and Kerry Levin, a social worker from San Rafael, were featured in a BeyondChron story about Kaiser Permanente’s mental health services deterioration. The piece also includes some of the stories shared in the “Kaiser Don’t Deny” website and notes Kaiser, which pays its executives millions, seems resistant to the idea that staffing up should be the response amid the pandemic.
Stories published by the San Jose Spotlight and Kenwood Press list NUHW-sponsored SB 221 as one of the new laws for this year, noting it will help with a rise in COVID-related stress, depression, and mental health issues by requiring insurance companies and health plans to provide timely follow-up care and reduce wait times for patients seeking help for mental health and substance use issues.
The New York Times says the number of Americans who attempted suicide showed a “substantial and alarming increase” over the last decade, yet about 40 percent of them said they were not receiving mental health services. The study, published in JAMA Psychiatry, indicates that from 2008 to 2019, the incidence rose from 481 to 564 in every 100,000 adults.
A story by the Los Angeles Times indicates the California Department of Education seeks to introduce a measure in the Legislature to bring 10,000 more mental health professionals to campuses to address the nation’s growing youth mental health crisis. The effort would aim to entice clinicians into schools through loan forgiveness and deferrals, and scholarships to offset education costs, and to potentially reduce the time it takes for mental health clinicians to be licensed.
The Los Angeles Times reported Governor Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers reached an agreement to again require employers to provide workers with up to two weeks of supplemental paid sick leave to recover from COVID-19 or care for a family member with the virus. The legislation would apply to all businesses with 26 or more employees.