Behavioral Health Pathways
FACES Behavioral Health Pathways envisions a behavioral health field that reflects the diverse communities of Alameda County and provides culturally competent services to all populations and all individuals, regardless of race, class, gender identity, sexuality and/or immigration status. Our efforts to work towards this vision include helping the youth of historically marginalized communities to identify pathways to professional careers in behavioral health and providing support for these young people as they work towards careers. Our curriculum is rooted in a critical understanding of cultural competency which encourages our students to critique and change the field of behavioral health while uplifting their own identities and communities.
In collaboration with Life Academy for Health and Bioscience in Oakland, FACES Pathways educates all of the school’s 11th grade students about behavioral health and behavioral health careers while providing internships and programming for a smaller group of 12th grade students. All 11th grade students also earn a certification in Youth Mental Health First Aid.
After receiving intensive training and preparation, Scholars in our 12th grade program are placed at local behavioral healthcare agencies where they observe, shadow and learn from a wide array of professionals providing a variety of different services. On any given day, a Scholar might sit in on a session where a psychiatrist diagnoses, observe a therapy group or participate in an art-based wellness activity for transition-aged youth. They receive on-going psycho-social support and participate in group activities designed to help them reflect on their experiences.
FACES Pathways was created through a collaborative process which includes La Clínica de La Raza, Life Academy of Health and Bioscience, Alameda County Behavioral Health Services and FACES for the Future Coalition. Each of these entities offers the expertise and energy to bring this program into fruition.
- Internship experiences in which Scholars are placed at behavioral health care agencies, shadow multiple professionals, and support the work being done by multiple programs.
- Interactive workshops and field trips designed to further immerse students in the health professions
- Guest speakers representing various types of behavioral health professional roles.
- Informational interviews with various behavioral health professionals.
- Behavioral health careers preparatory curriculum at Life Academy High School for Health and Bioscience covering topics such as clinical skills, wellness & recovery, ethics & confidentiality, communication skills, cultural competency and terminology.
- Individualized academic and career support to high school students via one-on-one advising and tutoring.
- Collaboration between FACES staff and high school administration/advisors to ensure students’ academic success.
- Mental Health First Aid certification.
- All students are assessed for psycho-social and medical health needs and risks in collaboration with the school-based health center.
- Ongoing case management, psycho-social support, referrals to other professionals when appropriate, and individualized academic plans with goals for the school year.
- Opportunity for one-on-one counseling with a para-professional behavioral health educator if desired.
- Team building activities and collaborative learning models for peer-to-peer education and support experiences.
- Ongoing workshops and group processes facilitated by a licensed mental health clinician.
- Individualized personal growth goals and support from a licensed clinical social worker and FACES staff.
Eric L. Waters, LCSW, Program Coordinator
Eric Waters is a social worker committed to social justice. Eric’s career path has meandered through community organizing, youth leadership, mental health and popular education. After graduating with a BA from Hampshire College in Massachusetts, he moved to New York City where he began working with youth in after-school programs. Eric moved to California in 2007 to attend San Francisco State University’s Master of Social Work program. In graduate school, Eric maintained his interest in social change and created a curriculum for talking about privilege, in relation to power and oppression, in social work education. Eric then worked for a number of years as a therapist with foster youth and families in Alameda County focusing on the use of Narrative Therapy. Eric feels grateful that his resumé also includes working in restaurants, building community with an anti-imperialist soccer team and playing drums in a couple brass bands.
Eric L. Waters, LCSW
Casa del Sol – La Clínica de La Raza
1501 Fruitvale Ave.
Oakland, CA 94601
Phone: (510) 715-5292
Video produced by FACES Behavioral Health Pathways Scholar, Francisco: