Reflection Essay
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Mental Health Social Workers in Rural Alabama

 For your “Major Assignment” in this class, you will complete an interview and write a reflection.

o    You need to select a community and social problem based on specific guidance (which you can find towards the end of this page) 


—————–Assignment Directions – Overview: 

1.    Choose a community you are interested in and identify at least one social problem they experience (see specific directions for that).

2.    Read about your community in at least five different reputable sources (e.g., academic journal articles, reputable news sites [Reuters, BBC, AP, CBS, etc.], and other reputable websites [these often end in .gov, .edu, and .org]).

3.    Conduct at least one interview (about 15 minutes or longer) with individuals who have insight into your chosen community and/or the relevant social problem. Interviews can be conducted in-person or virtually (over phone, facetime, etc.). You are encouraged to write down notes during the interview about the community member’s experiences with the community and social problem. You are also encouraged to ask if they have any ideas for possible solutions to the social problem. Ideally, interviewees will be members of the community and not relatives of the student, but they can be non-community members who have relevant insight and/or relatives of the student if needed.

4.    Write a one-to-two-page reflection about this experience. This does not need to be in APA format (but should have a title page or at least the student’s name at the top of the first page). You can cover a wide variety of topics in this reflection. My goal here is for you to be thoughtful, self-aware, reflective, and to demonstrate curiosity / what you learned. Suggested topics to cover in your reflection are listed below.


—————–Assignment Directions – Additional Guidance: 


·         Suggested topics to cover in your written reflection

You do not have to answer all of these questions in your one-to-two page written reflection. You can also answer other questions not listed below. I am looking for you to be thoughtful and share what you learned from the interviewee about your chosen community and social problem. You should note what this experience was like for you (e.g., “boring”, “scary”, “exciting”). Ideally, you will also connect your interview to class content in the textbook. The following questions are examples of the kinds of topics I’d like you to write about in your reflection: 

o    How did the interviewee describe their experience as a community member?

o    How did the interviewee describe the social problem and/or its impact on the community?

o    How does this person’s experience compare to those you have read/heard/experienced before?

o    How does this person’s experience compare to what you have read in our textbook about communities?

o    How did your thoughts and/or feelings about the community and/or problem change from before to after the interview, if at all?

o    How did it feel to do this interview? (e.g., exciting, scary, insightful, emotional).

Picking a Community and Social Problem

 I picked this as my community and social problem:

Community: Mental health social workers in rural Alabama  

Social Problems: Accesibility to transportation

                            Availability and lack of mental health professionals

                            Affordability (uninsured may not be able to afford)

                            Acceptability (susceptible to the stigma of receiving mental health      


Social Problem: Lack of resources. Shortage of mental health professionals. Lack of engagement in rural communities. Lack of internet service, finances to pay for mental health services, transportation to mental health services.


What kind of problem would the limit of resources be impacting?

Unnecessary disability, unemployment, substance abuse, homelessness, inappropriate incarcerations, suicides and poor quality of life.

·         Examples of community and social problem choices

Example 1:

Community: Black Women in Alabama

Social Problem: Disproportionate rates of maternal mortality 




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