As a mental health intern, Jessie Mitchell has experienced how her work is reaching clients at the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Salt Lake City.
Jessie joined the IRC’s mental health team in May, where she has provided support for mental health screenings and women’s health and healing groups. Jessie said she thought working with the IRC would be a great opportunity to gain experience and work with a different population than she was used to.
“I wanted to work with a population I wasn’t familiar with and step out of my comfort zone,” Jessie said. “Working at the IRC has been an eye-opening experience because it isn’t an area I’ve really thought about before, but I’ve found I really enjoyed it.”
Working on the health team, Jessie supports efforts like completing RHS-15’s, a tool specially developed to screen the mental health and emotional distress of refugees. The screening opens up the conversation with newly arrived refugee individuals about their mental health and the challenges they may be facing.
“Being that confidant or person they’re opening up to has been nice,” Jessie said. “It’s a really humbling experience and interesting to see life from a different person’s perspective.”
Along with mental health screenings, Jessie has worked with the Navigating Women’s Health program, which provides a space for women to ask questions about the U.S. healthcare system, self-care and mental health. Jessie notes the group not only informs the women she works with, but also builds a sense of community.
“One of my favorite things is seeing the friendships and bonds form between the women, and watching them get comfortable with their new environment,” Jessie said. “I think these groups help them not only learn different things, but also build a support network if they need it.”
Since joining the IRC, Jessie has said she has felt welcomed and enjoys the camaraderie and teamwork. She feels proud that she’s been able to make herself part of the team in her short time on the mental health team.
“It’s been a great community to work for -- everyone knows each other by name and is always willing to help out – so it’s been nice to see the friendships that you develop as well working at the IRC.”
Over the course of her internship, Jessie said she’s made good relationships with her clients, and it’s the little things every week that have made her job worth it, whether it’s through small interactions or making her clients feel valued and heard.
As Jessie reflected on her internship so far, she felt the work the IRC is doing is important, and that it has changed her perspective on life.
“You hear about all these crises around the world, but until you’re working with the population it can feel like you’re not involved,” Jessie said. “Hearing stories firsthand from clients makes it more personal and shows you the problem in a different light.”
Find out more about internship opportunities at the IRC in Salt Lake City here »