Mental health is a worldwide crisis.
Students like Jacob Adorno, a senior psychology major, are learning how to help people deal with their mental health. Some of these jobs include psychiatrists, counselors, therapists, social workers and many more.
Psychology undergraduates complete an internship as part of their degree requirements.
“This semester [Spring 2023] we had 43 internships. This includes internships done inside the university. Outside the university we had 37 internships,” Psychology Chairperson Michael Nizhnikov says in an email.
Adorno says he became passionate about his major when he realized a lot of his friends come to him to ask for advice. This has always been an important factor in his life.
“I have a brother with autism, so initially, I was going to go into social work. [My brother and I] had a very tumultuous relationship when we were growing up. I didn’t understand what being autistic meant so I wanted to help people with disorders and disabilities and to serve almost as a therapist,” Adorno says.
“I felt psychology was a good compromise of still being able to pursue that while also being a therapist for people of all groups and all different types of populations.”
Adorno says he eventually wants to work at St. Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury to help children in his own community with the same struggles he and his peers had growing up.
“You want to remove somebody from negative framing and how they perceive the world, how they perceive things, into a more positive outlook. You want to do so in a way that encourages them to grow and encourages them to reflect on what has occurred,” Adorno says. “You want to help outline the steps in which will help that person better themselves, help them cope into conquering that situation. If there’s a way that I can have that effect on somebody in my community, I would love to do that.”
While different than his future plans, Adorno got accepted to do an internship at a methadone clinic in New Haven conducting research.
Adorno is currently working with patients for substance abuse, but points out receiving help is something that could be good for everybody and anybody.
“People get into fights. People get into conflict with other people. People are overwhelmed, whether it be schoolwork, personal relationships, romantic or platonic or even familial relationships. There can be a multitude of things that people are stressed out about, no one’s immune from that,” Adorno says.
Other psychology majors have different focuses, such as Hannah Rosario.
Rosario, a senior psychology major with a concentration in mental health, completed an internship at the university’s Marriage and Family Therapy Program during the Fall 2022 semester.
“I have always been fascinated with Marriage and Family therapy and I hope to one day apply to the grad program here at Southern and become a licensed MFT [Marriage and Family Therapist],” Rosario says.
Rosario says she conducted intake interviews for prospective clients of the clinic, as well as completing clerical duties.
There is always the question: Why do an internship? Rosario says not only does it offer experience, but also contributes to academic credits.
Not only is helping others with mental illnesses essential to many psychology careers, but also breaking the stigmas.
Many of the diagnoses given that have these stigmas are bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, borderline personality disorder and schizophrenia. “Honestly, mental health stigmas anger me. People’s bias towards those who live with mental health disorders is incredibly unjustified and primarily based on fake or outdated information,” Rosario says. “I am grateful that mental health is now being talked about and destigmatized in the media and by younger generations. Talking about mental health is crucial to normalizing therapy.”
By Sarah Shelton