Lynet Mortensen

Improving Access to Quality Mental Health Services for Georgia’s Youth Through Enhancements in Social Work Education

Lynet Mortensen is an LCSW who works in metropolitan Atlanta as a school social worker for Cobb County Schools. Currently a DSW candidate at the University of Kentucky, she earned an MSW and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Georgia. Lynet has almost 30 years of experience working in various settings, including DFCS, home health, adoption, inpatient psychiatric and addiction, private practice, and full-time school-based mental health. In addition, she is a highly skilled clinician and trauma therapist with extensive training in DBT, trauma-focused CBT, Restorative Practices, play therapy [including child-centered play therapy (CCPT) and experiential play therapy], abandonment, and transracial adoptive issues. She has extensive experience as a clinical supervisor and offers ongoing group or individual supervision toward LCSW licensure. Lynet has successfully coached dozens of social workers to assist them in passing Georgia’s rigorous LCSW exam. In addition, Lynet is a passionate child welfare and mental health advocate who believes that every person in our country should have access to high-quality and affordable mental healthcare.

In her capstone project, Lynet examined the disparities in access to mental healthcare among marginalized K-12 youth in her home state of Georgia. This researcher’s intervention requires social work educators to work collaboratively with school-based social workers and K-12 school systems to reduce disparities in youth access to mental health care. Lynet argues that operationalizing child-centered play therapy (CCPT) training in K-12 school systems across Georgia—through targeted enhancements to social work continuing education training—could measurably impact Georgia’s mental health treatment gap. This innovative approach could increase access to high-quality school-based mental health services for all youth, decrease disparities in access to care for Georgia’s most at-risk youth populations, and improve the quality of clinical training and mental health expertise among school social workers.