Mental Health Focus Area

The Mental Health focus area prepares social workers for advanced practice roles in community mental health and substance abuse services organizations, particularly those that address the needs of the most marginalized, oppressed, and disadvantaged members of our communities. A recovery orientation, consumer empowerment, and cultural competence are woven into the mental health focus area curriculum.


Although the focus area embraces a life course perspective, it primarily focuses on clinical social work practice with children, youth, and adults who are living with, or at risk for, serious mental health and substance abuse problems. Students must become familiar with conceptual and theoretical frameworks for understanding the nature, etiology, course, and consequences of major mental disorders, and both evidence-based and emerging models of clinical social work practice. Effective social work practice also requires an understanding of how social policies and mental health and substance abuse funding streams affect service delivery systems and consumers of service and their families, particularly members of marginalized, oppressed and underserved populations.


To learn more about opportunities in field education, check out these videos:

Angela Willits, MSW, LCSW, Field Faculty; Mental Health

Laura Dresser, MSW, PhD, Field Faculty; Policy and Administration 



To learn more about opportunities in Field placements, check out these videos:
Angela Willits, MSW, LCSW, Mental Health Field Unit Instructor
Laura Dresser, MSW, PhD, Policy Field Unit Instructor


Focus Area Chairs: Tally Moses, Ph.D. and Angela Willits, MSW, LCSW


Required and Elective Mental Health Focus Area Courses:

1. Advanced Practice:

2. Policies and Services:

3. Focus Area Relevant Elective Courses:

5. Macro Practice:

6. Field Unit Options:


Mental Health Faculty

Field Faculty

Classroom Faculty


  • Andrew Archer, MSW
  • Ron Chance, AM
  • Ernest Marshall, MSW, LCSW
  • Nick Yackovich, Ph.D.


Other Mental Health Courses On Campus

  • Counseling Psychology 825 Counseling Psychological Techniques for Families
  • Counseling Psychology 860 Multicultural Counseling
  • Educational Psychology 844 Childhood and Adolescent Psychopathology in Schools
  • Educational Psychology 845 Psychopharmacological Treatment for Children and Adolescents


Links to Mental Health Information


Return to Advanced Generalist Specialization.

Last edited by jmlee29 on Friday, February 02, 2018 | Printer Friendly Version