Post 1: My first week at Community Psychiatry PRIDE

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Hi! My name is Bingyu Xu and I am a rising senior at Brandeis double majoring in Psychology and Economics. This summer, I am completing an internship at Community Psychiatry PRIDE as a research assistant. Based out of Massachusetts General Hospital under the Division of Public and Community Psychiatry, Community Psychiatry Program for Research in Implementation and Dissemination of Evidence-based Treatments (PRIDE) aims to reduce the disproportionate mental health burden in resource-constricted communities. Community Psychiatry PRIDE has built strong partnership with community-based providers across Massachusetts to close up the gap between science and practice in the field of clinical psychology. Research projects of Community Psychiatry PRIDE focus on effective delivery of evidence-based treatment for mental health disorder that are culturally relevant and responsive to the unique challenges of the community.

One of the projects that I mainly work on is Implementing evidence-based life skills programming for reducing recidivism among high-risk youth. My tasks include data collection, entry, and tracking, and formatting codebook. Together with a local community organization, Community Psychiatry PRIDE works to disrupt the cycle of incarceration and poverty in urban communities across commonwealth. Because of the reverberations of perpetual imprisonment, sustained violence, and family instability, tens of thousands of inmates each year have difficulties keeping themselves away from re-offending and returning to jail. The 17- to 24-year young men that this project targets on are disconnected, under-educated, and unable to success in traditional programming. Therefore, Community Psychiatry PRIDE aims to develop evidence-based treatment of cognitive behavioral therapy that are good cultural fit for participants. Community Psychiatry PRIDE holds the belief that these incarcerated young people, when re-engaged through positive and intensive relationships, can change their behaviors and develop life, education, and employment skills to disrupt the cycles of poverty and incarceration.

Community Psychiatry PRIDE’s determination to improve the mental health in resource-limited community is what attracted me to this position in the first place. People who in live neighborhood full of crime and violence are more vulnerable to mental disorders. Their incarceration and disadvantages in term of education and socio-economic status exist not due to what kind of people they are, but because of the way our society is structured and the way the resources are allocated in our society. I share the belief with Community Psychiatry PRIDE that when provided with appropriate resources, these high-risk youth can break the vicious circle and thrive. Community Psychiatry PRIDE has been dedicating to understanding the challenges of implementation and dissemination these recourses, and developing culturally suitable treatments for these communities.

My goal for this summer is to become familiar with all kinds of psychiatry research laboratory activities. Since I plan to enter a doctoral program in clinical psychology, I consider this internship as opportunity to train myself as a future researcher.       

-Bingyu Xu ’19