Mental Health Specialization at the University of Maryland School of Social Work
Chair: John Belcher, PhD
At any one time, more than 15 percent of the population is estimated to need mental health services, and social workers have been the dominant professionals in this field. More than half of all professional mental health personnel are social workers who are dedicated to advancing clinical techniques and developing policy to improve the mental health of our society.
The mental health specialization is a comprehensive program that combines exposure to the latest practice techniques with knowledge of the community. Like the health specialization, this program takes advantage of proximity to two major medical centers, a psychiatric institute, and a psychiatric research center.
Graduates who specialize in mental health are especially qualified for clinical or administrative positions in public or private mental health systems. The program prepares students to work in direct practice in organizations and agencies whose goal is to improve the mental health of the population.
During the Advanced Practice Year, students take two required courses, including Mental Health and Social Policy (SOWK 706) as well as other selected courses. At the same time, they spend three days a week working in the public or private sector. Settings include inpatient psychiatric hospitals, psychiatric services in general hospitals, outpatient units sponsored by hospitals, and community mental health systems. The settings expose students to a range in the severity of mental illness and to a comprehensive group of mental health services encompassing case management, program development, and psychiatric social work with individuals, families, and groups.
Secondary Concentration Option in Mental Health
A clinical concentrator who wants to have MACO as a secondary concentration will fulfill the clinical concentration requirements and substitute SWOA 703 or SWOA 704 for an SWCL methods course, and take another SWOA methods course. A MACO concentrator who wants to have clinical as a secondary concentration will take the MACO concentration requirements and substitute SWCL 700 for an SWOA methods, and take SWCL 744.
A Sub-Specialization in Employee Assistance Programs is also available within the Mental Health Specialization.