Similar to the problems facing the medical healthcare workforce, the behavioral and mental healthcare workforce is also challenged with an alarming shortage of providers and an increase in consumers. Due to a combination of issues, including an increase of retirements in among existing mental health professionals, the release of the 2010 Affordable Healthcare Act, the increase of mental illness in the general population and the still existing stigmas around mental health, the behavioral and mental health workforce is in dire need of providers and aid from the largest emerging generation of potential workers, the Millenials.
In response to these issues, the FACES Coalition developed and launched its inaugural Behavioral Health Undergraduate Summit (BHUS) in July 2016. BHUS was a unique opportunity for newly graduated high school students and current undergraduate students, many of whom were FACES alumni, to gain experience, training and professional development in the behavioral healthcare field during a time when most of them are still exploring career options.
This program was structured to impact students in four key areas:
- Professional Networking & Development
- Exposure to Careers in Behavioral and Mental Health
- Cultural Competency
- Ending stigma surrounded around Mental Health
In partnership with Samuel Merritt University and Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services, the FACES Coalition offered this unique program to 30 college students from all over the Bay Area from July 11-22, 2016. BHUS was hosted at Samuel Merritt University in Oakland, CA. This was the inaugural session of BHUS.
Throughout the two weeks, the students were given exposure to the behavioral health field. They interacted with panels of professionals and consumers in the field, traveled to site visits at John George Psychiatric Hospital and the CA Institute of Integral Studies, and participated in workshops focusing on Substance Abuse & Harm Reduction, Auditory Hallucination simulation, compassion fatigue, clinical writing, trauma and stories of recovery. The students were also provided workshops in cultural competency, professional networking and development, mock interviews and a mock job fair on their last day.
Visit to CA Institute of Integral Studies
“I’ve learned a lot from this program and I hope it continues to be around for other young minds. We never had the same day twice, and I really appreciate that!”
“Now I’m more aware and sensitive than before. Now I think twice about people I see out in the street and the people acting different. It will be a lot harder to judge someone by how they look or out. Everyone is different in a beautiful way.”
Mock Job Fair
“I ended up learning a lot about mental health- deinstitutionalization, mindfulness, mental illness- as well as different careers in the mental health field. The field trips, interactive workshops, speakers and short breaks (and the food!) were also great.”
“Draw Your Idea of a Therapist” Workshop
“BHUS gave us a well-rounded perspective, what it is like working in a field of mental health and suggested the next steps and skills we need to be ready to be well equipped next generation workforce. I like that BHUS gave resources and opportunities to network and build skills for our future careers.”
“The whole experience was really great, I felt like I learned a lot, and the people were cool too. It was very eye opening. I felt like this experience really cemented my passion in the behavioral health field and has made me want to pursue work in this field.”
“Singing Competition” Ice Breaker
“I learned how things in my life haven often occurred because I failed to take care of my mental health. I’ve soaked up all the stories with immense empathy. I’ve cried from the pain so my peers have experienced, rage at the injustices others have gone through and most importantly, open my mind to other worlds.”
Browse Photos from the Program Below:
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