Dozens of Trainees in the KP Northern California Mental Health Training Program (MHTP) participated this July in providing programing for Bay Area high school students through KP Launch, which offers young adults paid internship opportunities in Kaiser Permanente Northern California headquarters and administrative offices, medical offices, and medical centers. The goal of the program is to build and sustain a diverse, culturally competent workforce to meet the needs of our increasingly diverse Northern California communities (learn more at: https://kplaunch.kaiserpermanente.org/).
The MHTP’s EID Officers have been coordinating two KP Launch programs this summer, one through the Kaiser School of Allied Health Sciences in Richmond, the other through the Kaiser Psychiatry Department in Walnut Creek. One goal is to introduce this culturally diverse group of young people to mental health issues, encourage them to plan on going to college, and perhaps consider a mental health career themselves. A total of 15 high school interns, supported by two college interns, have been learning about the kinds of mental health problems patients come to treatment for, the kinds of evidence-based treatments they are offered, and the many kinds of mental health professions that treat them. Practicum Students, doctoral interns, and post-doctoral residents have offered their time to talk to KPL interns about such topics as DBT, mindfulness, ACT and cognitive defusion, working with Children and Adolescents, working with multilingual and multicultural patients, and working with patients from the LGBT communities. Many more have shared their own personal narratives of how they became interested in mental health training, and how they navigated educational, financial, and other obstacles to get where they are now. Many of the MHTP trainees who participated had also served as mentors to high school students throughout the training year, and some of the students they mentored went on to the KP Launch internship this summer.
Contributed by Dr. Aubyn Fulton