The University Record, May 21, 2001

Social Work program honored

By Bernie DeGroat
News and Information Services

The School of Social Work’s Supported Education Community Action Group (SE-CAG) has been chosen to provide training and technical assistance in supported education. This program model has been selected as an exemplary practice by the National Mental Health Association (NMHA).

Supported education programs help people with psychiatric disabilities successfully complete their higher education goals.

Built on a psychosocial rehabilitation model, the program addresses issues related to achieving educational success, such as managing stress, improving academic skills, solving problems, building self-confidence and developing a career.

“Our mission is to empower adults with serious mental illness to choose and acquire the tools necessary to achieve their postsecondary educational goals and to attain their highest potential and succeed in their efforts,” says Carol Mowbray, SE-CAG principal investigator, professor of social work and of psychology, and associate dean for research at the School of Social Work.

The NMHA’s Partners in CARE (Community Access Recovery Empowerment) initiative requires programs identified as exemplary to be “voluntary, culturally competent and empowering, embrace true community integration and a recovery philosophy, and have effective administration and measurable program outcomes.”

NMHA’s Partners in CARE is a grass-roots effort to improve community-based care for individuals with schizophrenia and other serious mental illnesses. The program encourages state and local governments to reorganize their public systems of care based on model programs from around the country.

Supported education and other exemplary models represent a continuum of high-quality services, from consumer self-help and support programs to a fully integrated model of community-based service delivery that includes treatment, social support services, housing, employment and rehabilitation.

In addition to meeting the key elements required by NMHA’s Partners in CARE program, SE-CAG has developed a set of core principles and values for supported education, including student choice of career interests, various models of learning, an extensive support network, student involvement in the program’s implementation, incorporation of empowerment strategies, ongoing evaluation of services, and coordination of resources from the educational setting and community.

For more information on SE-CAG, visit the Web site at www.ssw.umich.edu/sed.