Indiana University – Bloomington Master of Social Work student Megan VanSlyke-Bartley, developed a passion for social work through personal experiences, including her own mental health journey and her family’s military background with mental and behavioral health and resource allocation. Megan’s passion also stems from a friend’s death by suicide, the current political climate, and her desire to ensure society can meet all individuals’ needs while experiencing equity and equality.
Because of these personal experiences, Megan found that her biggest professional passion lies in assisting veterans and active military personnel with mental health and substance abuse treatment. Additionally, Megan is passionate about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) treatment, particularly Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EDMR), and its benefits not only for veterans but any individual who may have experienced trauma in their life. Regarding her biggest academic passion, Megan wants to focus on police work and learn as much as she can about local, state, and federal policies that impact individuals’ lives.
Through earning her Master of Social Work degree, Megan’s ultimate goal would be to work with veterans who experience PTSD, substance abuse, and other mental health diagnoses. Additionally, Megan wants to work with Veterans Affairs (VA) policies surrounding mental health and substance treatment and aid in easier access for veterans to obtain the resources necessary for reintegration into civilian life. Resources include insurance, housing, and employment, along with mental and behavioral health care and substance abuse treatment. Through these acts, Megan wants to leave the Earth better off than before.
Currently, Megan is completing her practicum through the Samaritan Center at Good Samaritan Hospital. Megan leads an intensive outpatient programs (IOP) substance recovery group and meets with individual clients for both evaluations and regular sessions. Megan also is helping create the mobile unit and its policies for rural areas of Southwestern Indiana through a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Grant. This grant aims at providing mental & behavioral health treatment to those in rural communities faced with challenges, such as lack of transportation.
One of the biggest lessons Megan has learned is that it is okay to be sensitive. Megan says she used to dislike being sensitive, but if you take away that single trait, you take away the very essence of who she is. When you take away sensitivity, you take away Megan’s empathy, intuition, creativity, her deep appreciation of the small things, her vivid inner life & deep awareness of others’ pain & joy, and her passion for life itself. “Being sensitive does not mean you are weak. Sensitivity allows people to be authentically themselves in every aspect, particularly in emotional vulnerability,” Megan says, “Never look at sensitivity as a weakness, but as a strength that few are brave enough to take on.”
Megan’s favorite quote is: “What happens when people open their hearts?” “They get better.” – Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood