On October 21, the HNU counseling psychology program held its annual Field Placement Fair. The event drew more than 40 counseling and forensic psychology graduate students to meet with representatives from 10 mental healthcare agencies. The California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists also attended to explain benefits and resources available to members.
“The fair was a success for students and agencies alike,” said Dr. Helen Shoemaker, director of the counseling psychology program. “One representative discussed how refreshing it was to connect with HNU students . . . to encounter their eagerness, and to see the range of diversity within the next generation of counselors and therapists.”
The agencies that participated in the fair include:
- the Stonewall Project, which is a project of the SF AIDS Foundation addressing the mental healthcare needs of sexual minority men struggling with alcohol/drug issues;
- the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center, a program that facilitates the rehabilitation of individuals suffering from alcoholism and/or drug addiction through a social model, work therapy-based program;
- Family Paths, a child abuse prevention and treatment agency with offices in Oakland, Hayward, and Fremont;
- La Cheim Behavioral Health Services, a community mental health center that provides a partial hospitalization program, an intensive outpatient program, and several other mental health programs and projects;
- the Berkeley Creative Wellness Center, a client-centered day program for adults with persistent and severe mental disorders;
- the Senior Support Program of the Tri-Valley, which serves seniors over the age of 60 in Pleasanton, Dublin, Livermore, and Sunol;
- the Albany Elementary Schools Mental Health Program, a program that works with children and youth to promote healthy emotional development and resiliency; and
- Alameda County Behavioral Healthcare Services, which provides comprehensive mental health and substance use disorder services through county-operated programs and community-based organization providers (the agency supports field training and internships at more than 25 community organizations).
The fair ended with a presentation from Peers Envisioning and Engaging in Recovery Services (PEERS) and the Family Education and Resource Center (FERC). PEERS is a consumer-run organization that contributes to the resiliency and well being of mental health consumers through its commitment to eliminating mental health disparities. FERC is a new program that provides information, education, and support services to family/caregivers of children, adolescents, transitional age youth, adults, or older adults with serious emotional disturbance or mental illness living in Alameda County. Presenters discussed the stigma of mental illness, and the needs of caregivers and family members. Two of the presenters shared their personal journeys to health after struggling with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and social phobias, and they gave specific advice to therapists and counselors about what was most effective in their healing and recovery.
“The fair was a great success, and we look forward to the next fair already,” Shoemaker said.