The Get Psyched! program has been making its debut across both counties, impacting hundreds of students interested in mental health careers and training. As with every group, active participation and training exercises help break down the stigma often associated with mental illness while helping students see the subject through the eyes of the practioner. This training was facilitated by three wonderful practioners, Lora Illig, Executive Director at NAMI (National Alliance of Mental Illness), Patricia Chan, founder of LiveWell Therapy in Chino Hills, and Jenmarie Eadie, founder of Jeanmarie Eadie LCSW, Inc. in Upland. In order to keep the training effective and facilitate engagement, only 50 students were able to attend this four-hour weekend program held at Chino Hills High School.
Ms. Illig served as the keynote speaker and opened the day by sharing her personal testimony of how mental illness in her own family eventually drove her involvement with NAMI. She talked a lot about how NAMI seeks to break down the stigmas associated with mental and behavioral health and encouraged the students to not be afraid or ashamed to seek out a therapist or counselor, pointing out that we all have stuff that weighs on our minds and talking about it with trained professional isn't a bad thing.
- The breakout session facilitators were Chan and Eadie who divided the students in half in order to tackle some more specific fields of practice. Chan talked about the signs and symptoms of behavioral health issues among teens and how to cope with it. Students also got to work through a case study and take on the role of a LCSW (licensed clinical social worker). In the other room Eadie's students learned how a LCSW works with children. She engaged them in the many techniques used by therapist to help kids open up while at the same time, observing their behavior. She brought along several tools of the trade - toys and coloring books that she uses to assist her as she works with children who have a difficult time expressing their feelings. One student, Eden, from Chino Hills really found the seminar eye opening. The idea that children could be encouraged to share their feelings in a clinical setting using toys and coloring books was a whole new concept. She said that she also enjoyed the group case study they worked on.
Another successful Get Psyched! and we hope that students left with a better understanding of the field and desire to pursue a career in mental health. Thank you to all of our presenters for their time and ongoing support of the Get Psyched! program.