My name is Brandi Long and I attended UTM from the years of 2007 to 2011, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. After graduation, I obtained a job working as a residential case manager for a local mental health center. While I truly enjoyed this position, I decided to venture out and see what else was available for me in the field of mental health. I obtained a position as a mobile crisis responder with Carey Counseling Center and have now been employed in this position for 2 years. The crisis program is grant funded by the state and provides intervention for individuals in crisis with mental health and substance abuse problems 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This program is provided for individuals in the community that experience distress which is often presented as suicidal or homicidal thoughts, extreme depression, mania and/or psychosis. My job is to assess the individual’s mental status. This includes evaluating for danger to self or others, determining appropriate treatment options, and making appropriate referrals. Treatment options available can range from outpatient mental health treatment, placement with a crisis stabilization unit, or hospitalization, which could be either voluntary or involuntary, depending on the situation.
The choice to attend this university as a non-traditional student resulted in a life changing experience. Though this was a whole new world for me, the professors and staff in the psychology department made me feel welcome and exhibited a great deal of understanding regarding my situation. Throughout my career in mental health I have been able to utilize knowledge gained from psychology courses such as abnormal, experimental, developmental, and learning and cognition. The different focuses of study enhance one’s ability to process thoughts on multiple levels aiding in the understanding of situations, behaviors and cultural issues related to mental health.
Advice that I would give students contemplating a degree in psychology would be that this is not an easy field in which to work, yet there is no greater reward than having made a positive change in the lives of others.