Erica graduated from the Saint Louis University Master of Social Work program in August 2014. She split her time as a practicum student between Places for People’s Healthcare Home team and the Faith Team. Erica will return to Places for People’s Recovery Center Campus after graduation after being hired as a Community Support Staff member for our HOPE Team, with a focus on helping the people we serve find and maintain employment through our Individual Placement and Support employment program.
How did you choose Places for People as your practicum site?
I chose Places for People because I wanted to learn more about administrative roles and research within social work, specifically in the field of mental health. I wanted to see mental from the framework of a variety of disciplines, including health care and law, which I absolutely did!
What did you know about PfP before you arrived?
I knew that PfP provided a wide variety of services to the people they serve, and that those services provide innovative, evidence-based treatment to very unique people.
What will you tell people about PfP after your time here?
I will (and already do!) tell people that PfP has allowed me to develop my skill set as a social worker in the most encouraging and gracious way. I was given freedom to explore my interests while developing new competencies to take with me throughout my practice.
What will some of your memories be of your time at PfP?
My first semester with PfP, I did a presentation for the Healthcare Home where I researched mortality reviews and lessons learned from clients who have passed away. It was a really humbling experience, and I felt like I really got to know the people I learned about, even though they are no longer here.
What was the biggest lesson you learned from your time here?
I learned a great deal about the many factors and circumstances that play into mental illness and either promote or hinder recovery.
What did you learn about the people we serve?
I learned that the folks that Places for People serve are incredibly resourceful, resiliant, and talented people who deserve to have their voices heard. Everyone could learn from the people served by PfP.
What was one memorable moment you would like to share?
I recently had the honor of sitting in the Family Support office for 6 hours with a lovely Sudanese woman who made me laugh incessantly throughout the whole day together, and even taught me some Arabic!
Did your time here change your perspective on mental illness?
So much! I learned about the inherent strengths of people with mental health challenges and how each person is truly capable of recovery.