National University

Alumna Earns Mental Health Loan Assumption Award

Alumna Irma Sanchez (MA, Counseling Psychology, 2010) recently received a Mental Health Loan Assumption Award through a loan forgiveness program hosted by the California Department of Mental Health. 

Ms. Sanchez is a Mental Health Therapist Intern at Gateways Hospital & Mental Health Center in Los Angeles, where she works for the children and adolescent outpatient program.

“I can honestly say that I have fallen in love with working with Children and adolescents,” said Ms. Sanchez. “I came to the conclusion that early intervention is the most effective way to treat many mental health illness and other behaviors. My current job allows me to treat client's and their families, which makes a big difference in their recovery.”

The Mental Health Loan Assumption Award was created by the Mental Health Services Act, a law passed by California voters in 2004 to retain qualified professionals working within the Public Mental Health System. An annual allocation of $5 million is set aside for loan assumption awards. Awardees may receive up to $10,000 to repay educational loans in exchange for a 12-month service obligation in a hard-to-fill or retain public mental health position.

Counties determine which professions are eligible for their own hard-to-fill/retain positions. Eligible professions include, but are not limited to the following:

•    Registered or Licensed Psychologists
•    Registered or Licensed Psychiatrists
•    Postdoctoral Psychological Assistants
•    Postdoctoral Psychological Trainees
•    Registered or Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists
•    Registered or Licensed Clinical Social Workers
•    Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors
•    Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor Interns
•    Registered or Licensed Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners

Eligible applicants can receive loan forgiveness awards up to six times. The application consists of approximately 10 questions.  “I was awarded the full amount and plan to re-apply as soon as I fulfill my one-year contract,” said Ms. Sanchez.

Interested parties can find an application for the Mental Health Loan Assumption Award on the California Board of Behavioral Sciences website. The next deadline is August 17, 2012.