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Student & Alumni Stories

Our students and alumni talk about their experience in the program and how it has affected their lives.

Ysabel Garcia ‘18
Springfield, Massachusetts

For Ysabel, professional calling is very personal. The graduate of Bay Path’s Child Psychology program says she didn’t get the mental health support she needed as a child and is intent on fixing the system that failed her. “There is something happening in my community that needs to be talked about!” says Ysabel. “Data shows the highest rate of mental health emergency hospitalization in Hampden County is in the Latinx community, with Springfield in the forefront,” she explains, referring to Latinos and Latinas of Springfield, Massachusetts, which has been her home since emigrating from the Dominican Republic in 2007. “My goal is to reduce that rate through educational outreach for suicide prevention and behavioral health promotion.” Ysabel found her career direction through her undergraduate experience at Bay Path, particularly in an internship with Behavioral Health Network’s Crisis Services. “I enjoyed it but discovered I am a ‘system’ person, not an interpersonal person,” she says. “The internship strengthened my passion for suicide prevention -- but as someone who fixes the system of mental health, not as the therapist I first envisioned.” Ysabel already is advocating for systemic change as a volunteer with the Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention, the Hampden Together Coalition, and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. She loves the work of community education and looks forward to a career in community-based participatory research and behavioral health educational outreach with a focus on children of color. She will graduate from Bay Path’s Master of Public Health program in 2021.