Christina Silas

Serious Mental Illness Recovery: Seeing the Person Not the Stereotype

Christina Silas, MSW, LCSW, is a Doctoral Candidate at the University of Kentucky School of Social Work. After completing her Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in psychology and concentration in clinical rehabilitation psychology at Indiana University-Purdue University, she pursued a Master of Social Work from Indiana University School of Social Work. For her MSW practicum, she provided individual and group therapy in the Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center (PRRC) at the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis, IN. The PRRC specializes in the treatment of people with schizophrenia spectrum disorders and people with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Upon graduation with her MSW, she became employed with the Roudebush VAMC as a social worker in the PRRC. She is currently the Serious Mental Illness (SMI) Treatment Program Coordinator at the Indianapolis VA Medical Center. While maintaining program oversight of the SMI programs, PRRC, and Intensive Community Mental Health Recovery (ICMHR), she also serves as the Social Work Lead for the psychiatry service. Both roles allow for collaborative and innovative approaches to mental health treatment for veterans.

In addition to her supervisory, program coordination, and consultation duties, she is the facility’s Social Work Education Program Coordinator. In this role, Christina facilitates and directs MSW practicum placements for the facility with the assistance of a committee. She has developed orientation materials for field instructors and students and revamped the training program to align with national VA standards.

While Christina is working towards completing her DSW, her capstone focuses on clinicians’ stigma regarding people with SMI. By addressing the implicit bias surrounding SMI, she hopes to improve clinician knowledge and treatment interventions. This shift in thinking aligns with social work values and enhances the care provided to vulnerable populations. She hopes to continue this work at her current agency upon graduation.