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Program Overview

The most comprehensive overview of the program state-wide, including the most recent contract information and frequently asked questions can be found at:

Hepner Hall
SDSU’s Hepner Hall, home to the School of Social Work

The San Diego State University School of Social Work is pleased to announce its participation in the California Social Work Education Center (CalSWEC) II, Integrated Behavioral Health Initiative. (Formerly Mental Health Initiative.) Anchored in the philosophy of the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Initiative, California Proposition 63, the workforce training component:

“provides a unique opportunity to fundamentally transform how mental health care is conceptualized and delivered in California. This transformation will include a move toward a state-of-the-art culturally competent system that promotes recovery/wellness through independence, hope, personal empowerment, and resiliency for adults and seniors with severe mental health illness and for children with serious emotional disorders and their families“.

Definition of the program:

Through an interagency agreement with the Office of Statewide Health Planning & Development (OSHPD), the Integrated Behavioral Health (IBH) Program provides funding for the MHSA (Mental Health Services Act) Stipend Program for MSW students at California schools of social work who are planning careers in the behavioral health system. The program also supports related academic and administrative activities.

SDSU was awarded a contract (2016-19) that provides a training stipend of $18,500 per year for one academic year. Final Year Students who will be completing their MSW II – Advanced Field Practicum in Academic Year 2017-2018 were eligible to apply. Final year students must be full time, taking 9 credits or more. SDSU awarded 10 stipends for 2016-17 and 9 stipends for 2017-18. The new contract does not award stipends after 2018. Unless the legislature takes immediate and unexpected action, the statewide MHSA MSW stipend program will not offer stipends in AY 2018-19.

Please note that program requirements may vary as contractual obligations are negotiated from year to year.

History and Background on Integrated Behavioral Health (formerly MHTP)

SDSU IBH Students
2015 IBH Cohort in front of SDSU’s Hepner Hall

The Integrated Behavioral Health (IBH) Program (previously known as the Mental Health Program (MHP) until its change effective July 1, 2016) was developed to prepare MSW-level students to meet the critical demand for a diverse, skilled social work workforce for the public mental health service arena.  Its mission is to develop a workforce of professionally trained and culturally competent social workers that meets the personnel needs of California’s public mental health system.

Modeled after CalSWEC’s successful Title IV-E Stipend Program for prospective public child welfare social workers, the IBH provides funding for stipends that are distributed by California schools of social work to MSW students planning careers in behavioral health services. The IBH operates under a contract with California’s Office of Statewide Health Planning & Development (OSHPD), with funding from the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Workforce Education and Training, which also provides for IBH operating costs.

MSW students are selected by each school to receive a stipend in an advanced year of their studies. Each student completes specialized courses and a field placement in a county-operated or county-contracted community-based mental/behavioral health agency.

Students may receive a total of $18,500 if enrolled full-time.. A student who receives a full-time stipend has a service obligation to work full-time for one calendar year in a county-operated or county-contracted behavioral health agency following graduation. Graduates may also work part-time or volunteer for at least 20 hours a week in an eligible setting, in which case the length of the service obligation is extended to complete the equivalent hours of full-time employment.