National Internship Awareness Month: Honoring More Mental Health Trainee Alums

Apr 30, 2021

In celebration of National Internship Awareness Month this April, we are honoring more of our Mental Health Trainee alums: Dilini Senadheera, Giselle Tisdale, Tony Vang, Meghan Bluhm, Jay Graizer and Hannah Le.

Because of their experience as mental health trainees in our internship program, Dilini, Giselle, Tony , Meghan, Jay and Hannah were able to grow in their careers at People Incorporated. Each one of them transitioned to positions within the organization after their internships. 

Read more about what Dilini, Giselle, Tony, Meghan, Jay and Hannah are doing now at People Incorporated and how their experience in our trainee program helped advance their career while giving them a strong foundation of clinical skills.

Learn more about our Mental Health Trainee program called Pathways.

Dilini Senadheera, Mental Health Practitioner Float

I am so grateful to have been a part of the Mental Health Trainee Program. Upon graduating college, I had no idea what I wanted to do but I knew that working in mental health was something I wanted to pursue. In this program, I was able to explore this interest and gain valuable hands-on experience while also learning skills that will stay with me for the rest of my life – such as adaptability and resilience.

One of the most impactful parts of the program was being able to work with a group of people made up of my cohort and supervisors who were a built-in support network throughout the entire experience (we regularly speak to each other to this day).

Currently, I work as a float Mental Health Practitioner and this fall, I will begin attending graduate school to study School Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. I have the Mental Health Trainee program to thank for helping me realize that I want to be in the mental health field forever!

Giselle Tisdale, Mental Health Practitioner, Huss Minneapolis

I began as a Mental Health Trainee the summer after graduating from Macalester College and transitioned to full-time float Mental Health Practitioner after about a year. Allured by the charming bustle of Huss Center for Men, I started working full-time here about six months ago, and I continue to love learning from the myriad of people there.

The Mental Health Trainee Program was brutal – irregular schedules, last-minute shifts, working at a new program every day – and I am so much better for it. The variability allowed me to experiment with what I need and want professionally and deepened my understanding of the many levels of care. There are few experiences that could have so quickly and comprehensively prepared me to enter the world of mental health.

Coaching the men’s basketball team at Huss last spring remains one of my favorite experiences during my time here, though I’m still not sure how I scored that gig.

Outside of Huss you can find me biking around Lake of the Isles, learning Simon and Garfunkel songs on the guitar, or taking a pottery class!

Tony Vang, Case Manager , Homeless Outreach Services

Being a Mental Health Trainee helped shaped my career path and life by broadening my experiences. I am currently a Case Manager 1 for the Homeless Outreach Services.

What motivates me is the idea of making a small dent into ending the vicious cycle of hospitalization, treatment, and back out on the streets, by addressing what I believe to be a major influence in an individuals’ mental health – which is secure housing. Without secure housing, individuals may not have the capacity or resources to take care of their mental health to the best of their abilities.

Something that I believe I have influenced here at People Incorporated, is being able to connect more with the Asian American Homeless population – which is sometimes hindered because of the cultural and language barrier.

About me – I love to fish and have become a small-time aquarist as one of my hobbies. I currently have three aquariums at home. I also, just recently, became interested in Ant Keeping and have attempted to start an ant colony.

Megan Bluhm, Targeted Case Manager, Dakota County

The Mental Health Trainee Program allowed me to see and take part in various programs within the agency.  I was able to take the knowledge and experience from each of these programs into my new position as a Targeted Case Manager with People Incorporated’s Community Services in Dakota County! 

Helping others! This is the main reason for choosing a career in mental health and my goal is to continue to be a provider who believes in their clients and is a support along their path in recovery and/or stabilization.

In my free time, I love to read, go on walks with my dog, nap (I need my sleep!), binge-watch TV shows and documentaries, and spend time with my family and friends. Having a career in mental health services has shown me how important it is to engage in self-care activities. We need to take care of ourselves too! 

Jay Graizer, Children’s Targeted Case Management Team

The Mental Health Trainee program gave me the opportunity to explore a field that has interested me since childhood. Having the ability to work at programs with varying levels of care allowed me to develop perspective and gave me a framework to continue with a career in the mental health field. I, like so many others, initially ran into the dilemma of needing the experience to get experience. The Mental Health Trainee program solves that by providing a diverse learning environment for those interested in mental health. I will always be grateful for the opportunities I had as a trainee.

After completing the Mental Health Trainee program I began working as a Children’s Mental Health Practitioner at People Incorporated’s Day Treatment Program. However, I recently changed roles and am now part of the Children’s Targeted Case Management team!

During my interview, I said that the reason I wanted to be in the mental health field was to facilitate connection. – this still rings true today and continues to shape my career path.

Creating change is a team effort and I’ve had the privilege of being a part of some amazing teams in which make a positive impact in the lives of the clients is a common goal. Just like being a trainee, working with kids is a fluid experience. Being adaptable and flexible is central to being effective. The Children’s Day Treatment team does a great job of adapting the program to fit the needs of the kids, and I feel so fortunate to have been a part of that process!

In my free time, I enjoy spending time outside. I love to cook and am always interested in trying new ingredients and recipes. For those times when self-care is at the forefront – I like to go for long walks with some good tunes.

Hannah Le, Mental Health Practitioner Float Pool

Being a Mental Health Trainee has taught me how to not be afraid of new experiences and tackle new challenges head-on. This experience has also taught me how to better communicate and advocate for myself in my personal and professional life.

Since I completed the MHT program, I have continued to float around to various programs and levels of care as a Mental Health Practitioner in the Float Pool.

I’m motivated by the fact that when I leave work at the end of my shift, I know that I have helped our clients make a difference in their lives – whether it be big or small.

Ever since my time floating to different programs as a mental health trainee, I really enjoyed being able to provide clients with insight and resources from my experience about all the different levels of care we can provide them.

In my spare time, I enjoy creating digital and traditional art. Caring for plants and doing my own nail art have also been some of my new “quarantine” hobbies.