As a student (and Plymouth resident) completing a master’s degree in social work (MSW) at Bridgewater State University, I feel it is important to address an overwhelming need for individuals to be recruited and retained in the behavioral health workforce.

A bill now on Beacon Hill – S.160/H.4451, Social Work Uplifting Practices and Exam Removal commonly known as the “SUPER Act” – would eliminate barriers and incentivize those to get their MSW. The SUPER Act consists of 3 components, which include: removing the licensing exam for LCSW-eligible MSW graduates, providing stipends to MSW students in field placement, and allowing Licensed Independent Clinical Social Workers (LICSW) to receive continuing education credits for providing supervision to other social workers. These three components would not only address systemic barriers for students completing their MSW but also enhance professional development for social workers seeking to be licensed at the highest level.

Pursuing a career in social work for both my undergraduate and graduate degrees, I have witnessed the disparities often faced by students during and after earning their degrees. Personally, maintaining two jobs, a part-time internship, all the while maintaining my course load has been challenging. This legislation will provide students such as myself with the opportunity to fully immerse themselves into their studies, without the worry of making ends meet.

I urge individuals to support the SUPER Act by reaching out to your local legislators and asking them to endorse this legislation’s passage. Together we can participate in impactful change and continue creating an environment that encourages the success of social workers and addresses the needs for behavioral health in Massachusetts.

Sarah Murphy

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