Exchange programme unites US and UK Social Work studentsMonday 4 July 2016
A four-week summer school exploring mental health services and attitudes has brought together students from the US and UK.
Four postgraduate Social Work students visited Hope College in Michigan, US, for two weeks to learn about the Affordable Care Act and US legislation.
They visited mental health services - including those specifically for US veterans being treated for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder - spent time with the now-retired Michigan Department of Community Health Director Jim Haveman, and visited both a forensic centre and a hospital for people detained voluntarily and involuntarily.
Becky Cuddy, who is studying a Masters in Social Work, said: “The main reason I wanted to take part in the Mental Health course was for the opportunity to go to the US and experience their university life. I am so glad I did.
“The opportunities we got while we were out there were once in a lifetime, and it has made me change my mind about my dissertation topic, as well as look into what wider opportunities a Social Work Masters can offer me. Before I left, I felt certain of what my career path would be, but this has really opened my eyes and I am so happy I went.”
For the final two weeks of the programme, nine social work and psychology students from Hope College visited the Department of Social Work, Care and Justice with Dr Llena Chavis.
Practice Learning Co-ordinator Nicki Blundell and Senior Professional Tutor Scott Massie welcomed the group, who joined four Health and Wellbeing and four Social Work Masters students at sessions held by Hope colleagues.
Melanie Trimble, who studies Psychology and Dance at Hope College, said: “What I will take away most from this experience is having the opportunity to immerse myself in this new culture and gain new perspectives from a different part of the world. I have gained a greater understanding of different world views on controversial topics and broadened my horizons
“I loved sharing the class experiences with students in the UK, they offered different views and perspectives than ours and it definitely made learning much more interesting. I love Liverpool and I do not want to leave!”
The summer school syllabus included opportunities for the students to learn about the history of mental health care in both nations, understand how gender, class and race impact care, and contrast the systems in both the US and UK.
All of the students were also invited to attend the Children and Young People in a Changing World: Action Agency and Participation conference held at Hope Park.
Picture: Students meet former Director of Michigan's mental health services Jim Haverman, at his home in the US.