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A non-probability sample of MentalHealthAmerica (MHA) employees (n= 40) and MSW

interns (n= 111) comprise the overall sample (N= 151) for this study. The sample includes MHA participants employed in the following departments: Transitional Age Youth, Supportive Services, Adult Integrated Services, Opportunity Center, Recovery Center, Military Resource Center, and Employment. All MHA employees with a graduate degree and license in social work or marriage and family therapy who work directly with clients (n=53) were invited to participate in the study, resulting in 75% participation rate for professionals. Unlicensed employees, those without post-master's experience, were excluded from the study. MSW interns in their second year of a 2- or 3-year academic program (n= 136), which includesfield122J. L. CONSTANTINE BROWN ET AL. placement in an agency for a minimum of 24 hours per week, were invited to participate in the study. The participation rate for students was 82%. Students in their first year of their educational program were excluded from the study.

 

Data collection

All data were collected anonymously and voluntarily. MHA, located in Lancaster, California, is one of Los Angeles County's oldest nonprofit mental health organizations and an affiliate of the national MHA in California. MHA is a leading advocacy organization addressing the full spectrum of mental and substance use conditions and their effects nationwide. MHA employees strive to inform, advocate, and enable access to quality behavioral health services for all Americans. MHA employees were given a research packet that included a cover letter, information sheet, and survey. Research packets were placed in employee boxes. Participants were instructed via the cover letter to return completed surveys to a locked collection box near the employee break room that was emptied daily by one of the investigators between November 6 and December 14, 2013.MSW students who participated in this study are enrolled at California State University, Northridge (CSUN); a large, public university in Southern California. CSUN serves over40,000 students, with approximately 400 students in the MSW program. Between November 6and December 14, 2013, full-time MSW student interns with at least 1 year of field placement experience were provided a link to an electronic version of the survey via e-mail. Participants were not asked to give personal information, such as age, name, or ethnicity, but the survey did ask about the length of employment in terms of months and years employed at MHA, and the length of direct practice time within a social service agency for MSW student interns. No incentives were offered to participants. The California State University Standing Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects approved this study.


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