Write an essay where you tell us about what drives you in your pursuit of your graduate degree.
I first began working in my field at a residential mental health facility in Fayetteville, Arkansas. This facility catered specifically to adolescents with sexual maladaptive behaviors. In other words, kids who had experienced childhood sexual abuse, and had themselves become sexual abusers, worked in the sex industry, or were on a path that could lead them to be sex trafficked. The vast majority of my residents came from underserved, oppressed populations and families who had a history of abuse and incarceration. Working with these children, hearing their stories and feeling their pain, helped me to truly understand how important it is to destigmatize mental illness in these populations, and provide adequate, accessible mental health care so that we can reduce recidivism rates, keep families together, and help break the cycle of abuse.
Kimberly from Illinois