Summer Internships: Sophie Daley-Harris '23
Name: Sophie Daley-Harris
Class Year: 2023 Undergraduate, 2024 GSSWSR
Minor: Child and Family Studies
Hometown: Princeton, NJ
Internship Organization: NAMI Mercer
Job Title: Summer Intern
Location: Hamilton, NJ
What’s happening at your internship? We would love to hear what kind of work you are doing!
As an affiliate of National Alliance on Mental Illness, NAMI Mercer’s mission is to listen, lead, educate, and advocate in order to empower families and individuals affected by mental illness and reject stigma. I contributed to this work by:
- Acting as a peer facilitator in mental health support groups
- Creating and distributing communications regarding support group scheduling through email blasts and social media posts
- Staffing a wellness table at outreach events
- Creating resources such as informational social media posts and resource toolkits related to mental health education, advocacy, and support
- I’ve created resources on a variety of topics, including but not limited to LGBTQ+ mental health, trauma recovery, and navigating the mental health treatment system
Why did you apply for this internship?
I applied for this internship because I wanted to do something meaningful with my summer that would apply to my interests in mental health, while also being local to me. NAMI Mercer was the perfect combination of meaningful work within the field of mental health that also happens to be located within my hometown’s county!
What is most rewarding about your internship?
Participating in support groups has been a powerful and fulfilling experience for me. As someone who is on her own mental health journey, it is particularly rewarding to peer-facilitate in the Connections Support Group (a general support group for adults living with a mental health condition). Being able to contribute your own experiences and find common connections with others is powerful, and especially empowering when support groups are led by individuals who understand and participate as a peer, not a professional. Witnessing and experiencing powerful revelations and bonds of understanding through shared experiences has been remarkable. I am also grateful for the opportunity to participate (as a supportive presence rather than a peer) in the Hearing Voices Support Group, which provides a space for individuals who hear voices as a symptom of their mental health conditions to share their stories and struggles, and help each other by providing support and advice on what has helped them. While I do not hear voices myself, I was moved by the conversations and moments of connection I’ve witnessed in these meetings, and the ways that the participants are able to affirm, empower, and support each other with the gentle guidance of the lead facilitator. The ability to participate in these two support groups have helped me further understand the power of connection and shared experiences that peers can provide each other in a group setting.
Can you talk about the skills you are learning and why they are important to you?
Of the several skills I am learning and developing through my internship, the skills of group facilitation, support, education, and advocacy are particularly important to me. As someone who will be studying clinical social work for the next two years at Bryn Mawr’s Graduate School of Social Work and preparing for a career as a therapist, participating in support groups and observing the skills of lead facilitators has been particularly important. While some of the power of these support groups comes from the fact that they are largely peer-led, it has also been a fantastic opportunity to observe the different questions the lead facilitator would ask to prompt conversation in meaningful and helpful directions, while also trusting the group to take the conversation where they need it. Although peer support groups differ from group therapy, I am confident that the skills I’ve developed in facilitation and support will greatly aid any future therapeutic work I do, whether in a group setting or not.
Visit the Summer Internship Stories page to read more about student internship experiences.