Campus: CSU Long Beach -- February 08, 2002
Department of Social Work at Cal
State Long Beach Receives $1.95 Million from L.A. County Department of Mental Health
The Department of Social Work at California State University, Long
Beach has received a three- year, $1.95 million grant from the Los Angeles
County Department of Mental Health for a program that provides stipends
and tuition for graduate students interested in developing careers in
mental health field.
"This program is designed to deal with the serious shortfall of master's
prepared social workers in mental health, which is estimated at 30 percent,"
noted John Oliver, director of the Social Work Department at CSULB. "The
recently funded program will provide immediate assistance for people already
committed to careers in mental health. Special emphasis is placed on fast
tracking students for employment as mental health professionals within
one academic year."
The funds will provide stipends and tuition for students enrolled in the
department's master's degree program. Oliver said that first-year students
get $5,000 per academic year while second-year students receive $8,000.
The closer students are to graduation, the more support they receive.
Students also are given specialized placements for their field practicum.
"The receipt of stipends, tuition and work release makes this program
unbelievably attractive," Oliver pointed out. "This program
is a wonderful example of a collaborative effort by the university and
the local community to solve a serious manpower shortage problem."
The shortage of mental health workers with master's degrees is especially
acute in light of consistent research findings that most of the U.S. population
will experience three serious mental episodes in their lives, but only
between 30 and 40 percent will ever receive treatment.
"We know now that providing easily accessible mental health services
has become an absolute necessity," said Oliver. "A person with
a master's degree in social work has a world of opportunities in the mental
The grant is an endorsement of Cal State Long Beach as a quality institution,
Oliver believes. "Its academic programs are seen as being capable
of preparing individuals for work in professional social work practice.
It also says students, if given the opportunity to choose between all
other schools in Southern California, will select the Department of Social
Work at CSULB for its reputation as a good place to learn."
As part of a consortium that includes USC, UCLA and California State University,
Los Angeles, CSULB has worked on development of special programs in mental
health since 1998. The funding for this program will run through June