Field Spotlights: MSW students Katie (’23) and Jonathan (’23) share about Sexual Assault Support Services of Midcoast Maine and Sanford Police Department

Student: Katie Ryan

Where was your first year placement? Sexual Assault Support Services of Midcoast Maine (SASSMM)

What did your work there entail? I worked as a family advocate for the Midcoast Children’s Advocacy Center, listening to the concerns of family members during child forensic interviews and providing resources and connections to mental and physical health services, legal aid, and other needs. I created and co-facilitated a support group for caregivers of child survivors of sexual violence and volunteered on SASSM’s 24-hour helpline, speaking with survivors of all ages. Lastly, I had opportunities to create educational packets for survivors and their families and run events around abuse prevention month.

What is the most valuable thing you learned during your first year placement? I learned the value of creating boundaries around and within your work and the importance of debriefing with supervisors following challenging experiences.

Where is your second year placement? Art of Awareness

What will your work there entail? I will be working one-on-one with clients experiencing a range of mental health concerns, as well as co-facilitating an intensive outpatient program (IOP).

What advice do you have for students choosing a field placement? If you have a community you are passionate about serving, that is a great guide for picking your first-year placement. That commitment to human beings will serve you on the days you feel overwhelmed and ground you in your work.

Student: Jonathan Phillips

Where was your first year placement? Sanford Police Department – Mental Health Unit

What did your work there entail? Liasing with the homeless population in Sanford; liasing with healthcare, peer support, community services, and housing services; dispatched unit responding to mental health calls; case management.

What is the most valuable thing you learned during your first year placement? I learned about how the police function within a community. I learned about the co-occurring issues of homelessness, substance use disorder, and mental health. I learned to think about ethical issues from multiple perspectives.

Where is your second year placement? ENSO Recovery in Sanford

What will your work there entail? An intensive outpatient program (IOP), group counseling, substance use disorder and addiction treatment.

What advice do you have for students choosing a field placement? I feel it’s best to go do something outside of your typical comfort zone, and that it’s vital to work with managers/supervisors that you trust and respect.