Are Stand-Alone Psychoeducational Models Effective for Court-Ordered Individuals with a Substance Use Disorder?

The presentation will cover what psychoeducational groups are and what this model looks like in treatment. The history of where psychoeducational groups started will be discussed and how the original model has developed into what psychoeducational groups look like today. Why a group model is effective will be covered and why there is an emphasis placed on the group instead of an individual session.

The transformation from how psychoeducational groups started to how psychoeducational groups look now will be discussed on the foundation of various theoretical approaches. The theoretical foundations will include the psychodynamic theory, cognitive behavioral theory, attachment theory, transtheoretical model, and motivational interviewing. There will be a discussion on how the search strategy was carried out throughout the research process including what databases were used, the search terms, and the process of selecting the literature for this project.

Finally, the presentation will include how there can be an improvement in practice, research, and policy. The future of psychoeducational groups will be contingent on how this is carried out.

Integrated Psychotherapy in the US Army: A Common Factors Perspective

In a military treatment facility, providers are encouraged to utilize evidenced–based psychotherapies (EBPs) as suggested by the DOD/VA in their clinical practice guidelines. However, there are many barriers and issues with (EBPs) that limit their use. Integrated psychotherapy may be the answer.

This presentation will discuss the concept of Integrated psychotherapy, identify integrated psychotherapies that exist in research on a military population, and discuss the common factors theory. The presentation will also include an example of what an integrated therapy may look like by showcasing a basic conceptual model combining EMDR and Contemporary Psychodynamic therapy techniques. A case study is included in the presentation, in which this model was retrospectively applied to a patient.

How Secondary Traumatic Atress is an Occupational Hazard for Pet Hospice Support Staff and Psychoeducational Support Groups are the Curative Model

There are three separate yet interrelated products that made up this final capstone product. The completed product is focused on pet hospice veterinary support staff and the need for an evidence-based mitigation protocol to combat secondary traumatic stress.

The first product was the Systematic Literature Review (SLR). The SLR utilized a scoping review process to locate prior research or literature related to pet hospice veterinary support staff and secondary traumatic stress. No existing literature or research was found on these two topics.

The second product was a conceptual paper that introduced the creation of psychoeducational support groups for pet hospice veterinary support staff, once the occupational hazard of secondary traumatic stress was defined for this population. Psychoeducational support groups, using the andragogy within adult learning theory as a platform, provided the intervention for support within veterinary medicine.

The third and final product was the practice application paper, which outlined how to operationalize a psychoeducational support group in a pet hospice setting with support staff. This final product also explored limitations and future directions for social work practice.

The Community as an Ecosystem: Channeling Local Strength through Volunteerism to Promote Rural Development

What does the research say about the connection between volunteerism and rural community development? This session will present findings from the literature base, specifically regarding how the community functions as an ecosystem in which every member has a role to play. Focus will be given to challenges facing rural communities, cultural strengths of rural people, and how volunteerism can utilize those strengths to increase community development.

A new training curriculum grounded in research will be conceptualized as a solution to increasing volunteer reliability in the service delivery process. Major takeaways for those working with volunteers include new ways of thinking about intrinsic motivation, connecting volunteer work to larger community challenges, and important considerations for working in culturally sensitive ways with rural people and communities.

The Rule Of Engagement In Alternative Learning Environments: Don’t Forget About Caregivers

What is an alternative learning environment, and who attends school in these settings? A quick Google search can answer this and more about alternative learning environments and attendees. However, little is known about the caregivers of these students–the parents, grandparents, and guardians whose lives are significantly impacted by their patterns of school difficulty.

Alternative learning environments are often the last shot at education for students and the last hope for their caregivers. For the latter, there may also be other feelings about the transition, layered with environmental and familial stressors, impacting their beliefs and attitudes about it. This transition is an opportunity for school personnel to address the systemic factors affecting caregivers and students that played a role in this transition. The opportunity begins with reimagining the intake process.

This presentation is for education system stakeholders and participants interested in school social work or school administration, particularly in alternative learning environments. Participants will be challenged to explore reasons why the overall approach to the engagement of caregivers of students in alternative learning environments must change. A brief overview of traditional approaches to engagement will be provided, noting why these approaches have not been effective for this population of students and caregivers. Participants will be introduced to a conceptual model grounded in an ecological systems approach to the intake process. Finally, implications for practice application and further will be discussed.

Addressing Racial Inequity in Child Welfare through Child Welfare Worker Training

This session will disseminate the scholarship and Capstone Project on addressing racial inequity in child welfare through child welfare worker training. Content will include statistics and data on the current scope of racial inequity in child welfare to provide awareness of the practice problem. A synthesize of the literature will be provided on anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion (ADEI) training topic and fidelity for child welfare workers.

The identification of training ineffectiveness in worker ability to apply skills learned in practice will be highlighted, along with identification of current theory guiding practice and ADEI training. A new theoretical framework will be presented including Critical Race Theory currently guiding some implementation of training, and the addition of Transformative Learning Theory, Active Learning Theory, and Social Learning Theory to guide child welfare worker learning and ability to apply knowledge in practice.

Lastly, a proposed application to practice will be presented, including the delivery of training on an ongoing basis, activities to facilitate belief transformation, activities to facilitate active learning, and the enhancement of fidelity in practice through coaching, modeling, and inclusion in supervision.

Falling from the Discharge Cliff: How Social Work Interventions can Bridge the Gap after Psychiatric Hospitalization to Improve Patient Outcomes

The period after psychiatric hospitalization can be difficult for individuals for a number of reasons. Numerous barriers exist to establishing outpatient mental health care. Without continued treatment, individuals are at risk for increased symptom burden, hospital readmission, and suicide.

Emerging best practice recommends that hospitals follow-up with patients following discharge to ensure good continuity of care. Despite this growing acknowledgement and need for accountability, hospitals are slow to implement such interventions. The following capstone project explores whether transitional care interventions led by social workers improve various patient and systems-level outcomes.

Employing a functional use of self, social workers are uniquely equipped to implement creative interventions in the gap following psychiatric discharge. Finally, research informs practice through direct implementation of a caring contacts program. Both the literature review and practical application of phone-based contact interventions show promise in positively impacting various outcomes, including reduced suicide rate, decreased hospital readmissions, and increased kept outpatient appointments.

Addressing the Systemic Oppression of the Mental Health Workforce: Utilizing Tenets of Emotional Intelligence to Liberate Burnt-Out Providers

Humans manage healthcare systems, and all systems change the experience and acknowledgment of systematic errors. Fortunately, for the most prominent life-preserving system in the world – the United States Healthcare System, human error is the beginning of creativity and change. The mental healthcare system and its workforce are desperate to create an effective burnout remediation program.

Burnout affects an individual’s quality of life and impacts an organization’s treatment outcomes. The phenomenon is commonly addressed through minimization or, worse, a professionally acceptable experience in the mental health field. Current prevention and remediation efforts rely heavily on self-care practices while ignoring the organization’s contributory role in burnout causality.

The system highlights an error in organizational responsibility to address burnout as its latter approach, focused on individual self-care accountability, has drastically failed. This capstone presentation synthesizes decades of research on burnout, emotional intelligence, and organizational leadership practices to support the development of burnout remediation programs across the mental health profession.

The Development of Intensive Therapeutic Retreat Model to Enhance the Treatment of Individual Psychotherapy and Increase the Quality of Life in Women with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

This capstone presentation is focused on presenting a new modality of treatment for women with a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The presentation contains an introduction and overview of three products:

(1) a systematic review of the literature regarding wellbeing and retreats; (2) a conceptual paper grounded in the person-centered theory related to utilizing retreats as an adjunct treatment to traditional psychotherapy; and (3) a practice paper that outlines the formulation of a new treatment modality for women with PTSD.

Each of these products are affiliated and presented together to create the final framework and for this capstone presentation.

Homelessness is Deadly, Complicated, and Solvable: Tracking Mortality Data of Individuals Experiencing Homelessness

Individuals experiencing homelessness demonstrate more significant health disparities than their housed counterparts and are among the most vulnerable of all populations, which has been proven to result in premature mortality. The mortality rates of people experiencing homelessness (PEH) have been comprehensively documented; however, the United States has no formal tracking method or statistics for people who die while experiencing homelessness.

A community partnership between federally qualified health centers, hospitals, community-based mental health agencies, homeless service providers, and the medical examiner will assist in tracking the health and mortality of the population through street outreach to ensure accurate assessments and screeners are used to track, advocate, and support this population. Research has concluded that achieving an integrated approach to care depends on successfully coordinating services through complex but sensitive care coordination. A homeless mortality review task force can address this detrimental gap in services for PEH if we ground practice in theory. The standpoint framework drives social workers and other health care professionals to be analytically mindful of the complexities and intersectionality of the population and to be comprehensive in our approach to practice.

The systematic review focused on evaluating a HMRTF’s ability to successfully decrease mortality rates in individuals experiencing homelessness while increasing routine medical appointment utilization through street outreach, data collection, and collaboration among community partners. The conceptual paper theoretically grounded the HMRTF in the standpoint perspective of social work. This framework enhances the HMRTF’s effectiveness in working with vulnerable populations and demonstrates the intersections of race, ability, poverty, and homelessness. The final product, the practice application paper, focused on applying research knowledge and synthesis to this gap in services.

Social work professionals who utilize standpoint theory are more cognizant of the population’s unique barriers, social determinants of health, susceptibility to premature mortality, and the necessity of meeting PEH where they are to treat their chronic conditions. To effectively treat PEH, the implications of their illness, identity, and the possibility of early mortality must be examined. Negligence of these factors will result in less effective social work and health care coordination.

Just Because We Are Black: Exploring the Impact of Racial Trauma on African American Adults and Introducing an Approach to Assessment

Racial trauma, or race-based traumatic stress (RBTS), describes the emotional and psychological distress that people of color experience as a result of racism and discrimination. African American, or Black people, are the most vulnerable group for experiences of and exposure to racism and discrimination. Discrimination on the basis of race can have negative impact African American individuals, their families, and their communities as a whole.

Symptoms similar to those of post-traumatic stress (PTSD) can manifest as a result of racism and discrimination. It is important to understand that racial trauma can occur as a result of historical trauma, transgenerational trauma, and racial microaggressions. No culturally sensitive tool has been developed to assess for racial trauma specifically in African Americans.

This capstone presentation will provide an overview of a systematic literature review describing forms of racial trauma and contributing factors to racial trauma, the impact of racial trauma on mental health, and introduce a culturally appropriate assessment tool to assess for racial trauma in African American adults.

Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder: Reenvisioned to Mitigate Stigma and Enhance Treatment Effectiveness

When the clinician or treating therapist shifts their perspective from pathology to person, stigmatizing beliefs and generalizations can cause a decrease in compassion, understanding, and effectiveness of treatment. This presentation seeks
to educate its viewers on ways to mitigate stigma within the clinical setting and enhance treatment effectiveness through the use of a proposed shift in treatment modality, training, and assessment. The writer additionally introduced a new
course of therapeutic treatment and introduces the relational model of social work practice to BPD in addition to the use of mentalization-based therapy (MBT).

A revamped assessment tool will aid in accurately diagnosing and treating the pathology of borderline personality disorder through measurable data over treatment, specifically in the PHP, IOP. and OP settings. Finally, clinician training has been introduced to ensure all clinicians are adequately informed on the use of relational-engagement therapy and its benefits for those diagnosed with or displaying borderline traits.

In totality, this presentation ultimately seeks to debunk much of the stigma in the clinical setting towards a very much misunderstood and misdiagnosed population.

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

Disparities in access to mental healthcare among marginalized K-12 youth in Georgia are severe. Georgia ranks 49th in the nation in access to mental health services but first in the prevalence of mental health issues (Reinert et al., 2022). In addition, despite substantial research and evidence highlighting the importance of early intervention treatment for mental health issues, complex and compounding treatment barriers persist.

Research demonstrates that children with access to in-school mental health services are significantly more likely to receive treatment. Child-Centered Play Therapy (CCPT), a culturally sensitive, evidence-based therapeutic intervention, is poised to be able to address these disparities in access to care. In addition, school-based social workers—already serving in K-12 Georgia schools—are perfectly positioned to provide critically-needed school-based mental health treatment services.

Product one is a systematic review focused on primary research that assessed the outcomes of the effectiveness of CCPT in addressing unmet mental health needs in K-12 public schools. The purpose of conducting a systematic literature review was to establish a foundation of quality research assessing play therapy outcomes in school settings and to explore previous attempts to address inequities in access to care. Next, product two is a conceptual paper exploring grounding CCPT theoretically in the systems perspective of social work and an anti-oppressive practice approach. Finally, product three outlines a holistic approach to operationalizing child-centered play therapy (CCPT) training in K-12 school systems across Georgia—through targeted enhancements to social work continuing education training.

Through innovative social work education initiatives—such as widespread Child-Centered Play Therapy (CCPT) training during school social worker continuing education—social work educators could increase clinical education opportunities for K-12 school staff while increasing access to quality mental health care for our most at-risk youth—and potentially transforming Georgia’s mental health in the process.

Leadership in Nonprofit Organizations: Best Practices for Volunteer Retention

Social work and volunteerism have been closely connected throughout history as each is rooted in service to others and their creation shares an intertwined beginning. While research is lacking around leadership in nonprofit, charity, and volunteer organizations, the connection between leadership behaviors and volunteer commitment significantly impacts volunteer service on both the domestic and international stages. As volunteerism rates are at historic lows, many aspects and populations in society rely on volunteers to provide necessary support and resources in order to survive.

This presentation examines how leadership behaviors impact volunteer commitment and how leaders of nonprofits can utilize a best practice framework to positively impact the volunteer experience to increase motivation and engagement. By closing this gap in research and providing context around leadership, nonprofit organizations can enhance effective leadership, improve culture and climate, and increase volunteer engagement and retention. Analyzing volunteer motivation to engage and commit to an organization as related and impacted by leadership behaviors provides insight into future direction for research and program implementation.

“I Like My Baby Heir, With Baby Hairs and Afros”: Use of Story Theory in Addressing Maternal Health Outcomes for African American Veterans and Service Members

Maternal morbidity and mortality among African American women has been a systemic and pervasive issue in the United States for decades. In 2020, Congress began to address the issues around the deaths of African American women in the Mombius 2020 Act. In 2021 congress expanded those efforts by passing the “Protect Moms Who Serve Act 2020”.

This act began to address the lack of maternal health services to veterans and services members throughout the Department of Veterans Affairs, with a focus on African American and Native women. This presentation will outline the current issues around maternal outcomes in African American women veterans and service members. This presentation will address how using Story Theory, medical professionals can begin to listen to the narratives African American Service Members.

The Story and Narrative Theory centered B.O.O.T. Maternal Assessment and Interview is being proposed to address communication issues between providers and patients. The B.O.O.T.S. assessment can be used by military, veteran, and civilian providers alike.

Rebranding the Battle Against Clinician Burnout 

This presentation will take a close look into the issue of burnout among marginalized healthcare providers (women and LGBTQ+). This showcase will dissect key points in history that target wellness and define terms that are relevant to understanding the effects of burnout on a person’s work-life balance. It will be divided into several sections, including an overview of the problem and contributing factors, a thorough review of relevant literature, a conceptual idea that will explore both the problem at hand and theories that can help with its effects, and finally a practice application that will serve as the recommendation for a change in policy to act as preventative care and education for working social workers in the field.

Each section will walk us through existing research, theory, and practice of Kentucky state-licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs). The end goal of this paper will be the acknowledgment of the professional failings for social workers in the field, as well as an actionable plan that will create change for a healthier practice for the future of the social work profession.

Positioning Critical Race Theory with Anti-Diversity, Equity, Inclusion within Social Work Education

Within predominantly white social work programs, students of color, particularly African American faculty and students, are resigning or withdrawing, citing targeted microaggressions, lack of diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as a lack of cultural humility from peers, faculty, and practicum supervisors (Gooding, A., & Mehrotra, G. R.). The Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards manual (EPAS) outlines the knowledge, values, and skills that formulate competencies central to social work education. The literature suggests that cultural competency identified in past editions of the EPAS does not effectively address discrimination, systematic oppression, and marginalization faced by persons of color.

A shift to cultural humility requires individuals to perform self-reflection, personal critiquing, and addressing biases. Merging critical race theory with cultural humility provides an internal and external epistemological review of how these barriers have continued without interruption. Social work education should be purposeful in creating authentic, measurable, and deliberate outcomes to address the multilevel loss of students and faculty of color by purposefully charting a path forward that is anti-racist, diverse, equitable, and inclusive in scholarship, education, and practice.

The capstone project will look at this path forward through a systematic literature review, and a conceptual and practice framework.

Sexual Reproductive Healthcare: Reproductive Autonomy, Access Inequity, And The Call For Service Expansion

Sexual Reproductive Healthcare (SRH) and the right to control over one’s own body in sexual and reproductive matters, are fundamental core component of an individual’s being. The SRH landscape changes on a daily basis with changes to policy and legislation, majority of which further restrict access. Advocacy and education will be key in advancing SRH access moving forward however in order to move forward we must examine and acknowledge past practices.

Disparities In Mental Health Technology Among African-Americans: Breaking Cultural Inclusion Barriers

Mental health Technology is an innovative service delivery method used to minimize healthcare access challenges. African-Americans have increased their engagement in mental health technology in various aspects as professionals and patients while companies scale in capacity and funding to expand their technological reach globally. The need to explore the intentionality of cultural inclusion, research analysis, evidence-based practices, program design, organizational structures, and policy implementation is essential to ensure the sustainability of mental health technology as a reliable model in the future of healthcare.

This presentation will examine the capstone project as a collection of three papers, the Systematic Literature review, Concept paper, and Practical application paper, analyzing cultural inclusion concerns from the African-American patient and professional perspective. There was an examination of patient issues related to program design, evidence-based interventions, therapist matching, marketing, and research, with professionals experiencing inequities in hiring practices, career ladders, diversity training, strategic planning, STEM careers, and organizational ownership.

This presentation will take a deeper dive into the systematic literature review which explored the current literature, common themes, research barriers, and future research implication for practice. It will further explain the concept paper which described the interconnection between anti-oppressive theory, systems theory, the historical constructs of structural racism, and the structural discrepancies that reinforce obstructive ideologies in the cultural inclusion reform process. Lastly, it will discuss the practice application paper which investigated the root cause of cultural equity challenges, examined behavioral leadership theory doctrines, and provided problem-solving strategies using a three-tiered method of practical reform interventions. This is a call to action for mental health technology cultural inclusion reform.

Involuntary Psychiatric Treatment And The Effect On Overall Treatment

In clinical social work practice a clinician often assesses risk, level of care, and the overall mental capacity and capability of the clients they serve. In some instances when a client is deemed at a high level of risk, the client may be subject to being admitted to involuntary psychiatric treatment. Involuntary psychiatric treatment is when a client is admitted and/or mandated to a form of treatment intervention against their will.

This often results in clients being uprooted from their everyday lives and can cause a major disruption within contexts of their employment, social relationships, family, and societal responsibilities. While this form of treatment is necessary in some instances of clinical practice in order to ensure that a client and others around them are safe, this capstone seeks to define involuntary clients, determine appropriate interventions, increase treatment outcomes, and bridge the gap between levels of care and the treatment options that are provided to those who are deemed at different levels of risk.

Exploring and Tackling Poor Engagement in Mental Health Services for U.S. Military Veterans with Serious Mental Illness: Collection of Papers

This capstone project focuses on the treatment engagement challenges for military veterans with serious mental illness (SMI). Poor engagement in care is correlated with negative outcomes for this population. By exploring the scope and conceptualization of this issue, a solution is proposed to tackle poor engagement with SMI veterans.

To begin, a systematic literature review examines the effectiveness of intensive case management with a therapeutic alliance for this population. Due to the lack of literature available on this issue, the conceptual paper proposes a self-determination theoretical approach to improve treatment engagement with SMI veterans. Broadening the conceptualization, the final piece of this capstone project proposes a practice application for clinicians to enhance their skills to engage SMI veterans in mental health services.

Rise Up: Dismantling Institutionalized Racism Embedded in Healthcare to Improve Health Outcomes for Black Women

Black women in America are paying the cost for systematic failures in the healthcare system. This presentation will focus on the prevalence of institutionalized racism in healthcare dating back to slavery. The presenter will discuss the role of social determinants of health in addressing health disparities, and the reasons these health disparities continue to exist today, despite healthcare advancements as well as numerous, and often costly, public awareness programs and public health initiatives.

In addition, the discussion will address disproportionate outcomes in healthcare for Black women compared to their white counterparts. An overview of the theoretical framework of Black feminism, weathering, critical race, and Sojourner Syndrome will be highlighted, as these factors bring significant relevance to understanding health disparities.  The presenter will provide an overview of the discrimination survey and explain why this survey is a necessary component across the healthcare spectrum. 

Finally, the presentation will address gaps in research that inevitably lead to poor health outcomes and unsatisfactory quality in care for Black women. Highlighting the solutions to long-term systematic change, the discussion will explore the ultimate implications for social work practice, the role and the impact social work leaders play in addressing health disparities.

Tools of the Trade: Educating Future Social Workers for Anti-Oppressive Practice

This presentation provides an overview of the capstone project and explores the findings from researching the question: What does the literature say about teaching cultural humility in social work education? Cultural humility is an important component of anti-oppressive practice. Anti-racism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ADEI) is a component that is required in social work education by the Council on Social Work Accreditation (CSWE).

The CSWE allows flexibility for how accredited social work schools implement this in education. The presentation includes a brief overview of the systematic literature review that revealed inadequate empirical evidence for the methods used to teach cultural humility. Three teaching methods stood out: Intergroup dialogue, experiential learning, and reflective writing.

There will also be an overview of suggested theories that are useful, Critical Race Theory, Systems Theory, and Experiential Learning Theory. Finally, an overview of the implications and proposed solutions.

Accelerated Resolution Therapy as a Pre-Habilitative Psycho-Oncology Approach with Head and Neck Cancer Patients

This scholarly Capstone Project intends to introduce the integration of a novel therapeutic framework to bridge the unmet psychological needs of the head and neck cancer population.  The Capstone Project provides trending information on the etiology of head and neck cancers including increasing diagnoses related to the Human Papillomavirus and thus why some in the medical community refer to this cancer as a “quiet epidemic”.  The primary focus will be to illustrate the disproportionately high psychological distress experienced by this population, the traditional therapeutic interventions applied and the need for a new approach. 

The project will introduce the model of Pre-Habilitative Psycho-Oncology using Accelerated Resolution Therapy, or PPA, to be implemented in the oncology clinic setting. The new model, which will be social work led, will establish consistent and thorough biopsychosocial assessments on every patient with a new head and neck cancer diagnosis, identify those experiencing psychological distress and intervene prior to the initiation of treatment, rather than during or after.

The pre-habilitative approach seeks to reduce anxiety, depression, and suicide ideation through the techniques used in Accelerated Resolution Therapy. Through the unique social work lens, PPA will help patients develop coping skills, enhance resilience, and improve quality of life.

Anorexia, Neurocognition, and Practice Implications: An Outpatient Treatment Model

Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a potentially lethal eating disorder, and current available treatment(s) for anorexia are inadequate at best (Bulik, 2013). The illness has an alarmingly high relapse and mortality rate (Bulik, 2013), which seems to have correlation to many factors that may be preventable. With access to a timely and accurate diagnosis, access to treatment on a variety of levels of care and newer and more improved treatment modalities, treatment for anorexia may begin to rise to the occasion. This capstone project seeks to examine some of the more specific challenges and potential solutions to these problems.

Three products make up this capstone project: a systematic literature review, a conceptual paper, and a practice application paper. The systematic literature review provides a targeted review of selected literature that serves to inform a new conceptualization of the selected social problem. The practice application paper presents a model that can be applied and work to resolve the social problem.

The systematic literature review examined literature on anorexia and the brain. Literature was chosen that appeared to have implications in studying the neurological effects of anorexia, and the way(s) an individual exhibits these effects during the illness. It was discovered that there are significant neurological changes and deficits occurring in the brain of an individual with anorexia, and that these symptoms are often directly related to poor treatment outcomes. These findings informed the conceptual paper and practice application papers. The conceptual paper explored the efficacy of the 12-Step intervention in addictive disorders, due to the neurological, cognitive and behavioral similarities between addictive disorders and anorexia. The practice application paper describes a steps model as a non-clinical intervention for anorexia.

Peer Support in a ​Recovery-Oriented Setting

Peer support is not achievable outside of a recovery-oriented system of care. This capstone project will identify the strengths and challenges of peer support in a behavioral health setting and will address the research question: How do you define, supervise, and train the peer support worker role in a behavioral health recovery setting? It defines recovery as defined by SAMSHA and will address peer support within this context.

This capstone will lead the journey on the history of mental health recovery, and historical gains in the mental health consumer movement, it will address mental health parity. It is a collection of three distinct papers that each stand alone in their own merit but collectively address peer support in a recovery-oriented setting. The unique view of this collection of papers looks at the current consensus of literature “Peer support is beneficial but proceed with caution”.

This collection of papers will highlight the “peer support is beneficial” but look specifically at “the proceed with caution” and addresses the findings identified in the capstone to propose and apply a solution to the identified challenges within the field by proposing the creation of a nonprofit called RESILIENCE, that will offer peer support, and consultation for organizations engaging in peer support, with program development, implementation, and evaluation.

Identification and removal of barriers to VA mental health treatment for Black female veterans

The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) is the largest integrated healthcare system in the nation. It is seen by many as a safety net for the nation’s veterans. Research has been conducted with both male and female veterans to identify barriers they may experience while seeking mental health treatment from the VA. However, the veteran population is more than diverse than just looking at differences in gender. Females are the fastest growing group pf veterans. Currently they make up 11% with a projection of being 18% of the population by the year 2046. That being said, female veterans are not a homogeneous group. Forty-three percent of female veterans identify as a member of a racial/ethnic group. Those identifying as Black were at 12%, representing the largest single racial/ethnic group. The goal of this capstone project is to identify barriers Black female veteran encounter to accessing mental health treatment from the VA. This project also examines the current approach while presenting a new conceptual framework that acknowledges these barriers and a culturally responsive approach to removing them.

Interdisciplinary Evaluation of Social Workers in Public Education

Social workers practice in various settings outside of their discipline. These host settings may present challenges for social workers due to inadequate supervision and performance evaluation often provided by a leader without knowledge of the field’s ethics and professional standards. The public education system is one of these settings.

This capstone project explores the current supervision and evaluation frameworks for non-traditional staff within schools and proposes a best-practice solution to improve the experiences of school social workers. Barriers to effective evaluation at the individual and organizational levels are identified and the impacts on the professional growth of these staff are defined. The National Evaluation for School Social Work Practice is utilized to propose an interdisciplinary approach to performance evaluations for these staff that blends transactional and transformational leadership styles.

This approach defines professional competencies and standards assessed by building administrators, such as principals and assistant principals, and those that are more effectively assessed by a social work supervisor. Utilizing an interdisciplinary framework for supervision and performance evaluation equally emphasizes the needs of the organization and the professional to improve outcomes for students, staff, and the school community. Although specific to public education, the proposed framework can serve as a model for other host settings to improve the experiences and job satisfaction of social workers in other sectors.

Embodying Freedom: Addressing Mental Health in the Black Church Utilizing Trauma Informed Care

The presentation will explore the history of the Black church and the negative impact of generational trauma. Mental health disparities will be identified and explored to increase awareness and dispel stigma in Black church communities. This presentation focuses on Afrocentric and systems theory to analyze historical context, modern representation, and provide future implications for collaborative faith-based health resources.?

Restoreth My Soul is a new trauma-informed care program for Black churches developed by the presenter. Restoreth My Soul will be launched in September 2023. The program aims to create conversations about mental health in local/international African American church communities through webinars and virtual conferences.

Although these conversations are uncommon, Restoreth My Soul intends to provide resources to reduce the members and leaders silently suffering as result of their trauma. The intended outcome of the program is the educate, evaluate, and implement mental health policies in Black congregations. For more information about RMS sign up for the mailing list at

Healing After A Foster Child Leaves Your Home

Healing After a Foster Child Leaves Your Home will equip foster parents understand, cope with and heal from the unique pain of a foster child leaving their home. It offers […]

Services & Support For Foster & Adoptive Families

Services & Support for Foster & Adoptive Families will inform parents about resources available to individuals with intellectual disabilities through the Michelle P. Waiver Program, which allows eligible individuals to […]

Foster/Adoptive Parents Of Teens Support Group

ASK-VIP Support Group for Foster/Adoptive Parents of Teens is specifically designed for foster/adoptive parents who are caring for teenagers or those considering fostering and/or adopting teenagers. This support group offers […]