Memorial Heroes - Michelle Ferralez, Behavioral Health Program Coordinator/Licensed Clinical Social Worker

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July 16, 2020

 What is your official title?

Behavioral Health Program Coordinator/Licensed Clinical Social Worker

How long have you worked here at Memorial Medical Center?

3 years

How did you come into this position?

I started working as a mentor to at risk youth with the Americorps program when I was in high school. Shortly after high school graduation I started working as a mental health technician in an inpatient behavioral health hospital. There, I learned my passion of helping others through tough times with respect, support, and kindness but I knew there had to be more I could do.

Because of that I completed my bachelor's degree in psychology and went back to school for master’s degree in Social Work.

I had nearly a decade of inpatient experience and my newly accomplished master’s degree when I decided to apply to the hospital that my grandfather was so proud to have worked at.

I started as a Case Manager but with my experience knew there was more that we could do for our patients. I then applied for the Behavioral Health Program Coordinator and have begun to develop a program along my Director to include evidence-based practices and trauma informed models.

What was your motivation for a career in Healthcare?

The example was set for me by my family to always help others. My grandfather worked in healthcare as a pharmacist and my mother as a nurse. Maybe you could say it was in my blood. My motivation for my career in healthcare is seeing hope in the eyes of my patients as they have overcome some of the hardest days of their lives and being a part of that treatment is truly priceless.

What is a typical day like for you?

Every single day brings its own challenges and triumphs. Many days include working closely with the psychiatric care providers to provide group and individual therapy to individuals who are experiencing trauma, depression or thoughts of self-harm, severe anxiety, or psychosis. Also, we often work with families to create safe discharge plans and provide education on signs/symptoms of the diagnosis and how to help support their family member.

How would you describe your role’s responsibilities?

Working closely with the nursing team and psychiatric care providers I spend my day ensuring that each client receives the mental health care that that they deserve. This includes making sure that each patient is treated with trauma informed care and is provided with group therapies, individual case management, and medication management services.

In what areas do you help patients?

I work to improve the quality of life for each and every individual that we treat. I educate patients and families about the complexity of mental health conditions, how common these conditions are and how to best support their son, daughter, mother, father, spouse, etc. I generally use cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and psychoeducation to assist with anxiety, depression, trauma, psychosis.

What are some of your interests outside of work?

I enjoy raising and training puppies, advocating against social injustice, and providing pro bono therapy services to essential workers amid the COVID19 pandemic.

What is your favorite part about working for Memorial Medical Center?

I absolutely love my team! I love that each and every person on my team treats patients with dignity and respect. My team advocates for what is right and making sure the voice of these individuals is heard. I love that I have a fearless leader/director that is knowledgeable in trauma informed care, but also is active in the community to help end the stigma around metal health conditions.

Overall, my favorite part about working at MMC is being able to give back to the community that I was born and raised in, and to continue my family legacy of helping make this community healthier.