By Valerie Fields Hill
School of Social Work
Jamie Leann Lowe
Photo courtesy of LinkedIn
Jamie Lowe, a working mother who is pursuing a Master of Social Work degree, has earned one of the state’s premier scholarships for students who plan to work in the mental health field.
Lowe won the Ima Hogg Scholarship – and $5,000 – from the Austin-based Hogg Foundation for Mental Health.
The foundation was founded in 1956 to promote mental wellness throughout Texas. It also aims to increase the number of mental health professionals who work in the state.
“Mental health is where I want to focus my career and, more specifically, in suicide prevention through the creation and implementation of services that are as effective as they are welcoming,” Lowe said in a statement released by the foundation.
Lowe is one of 20 scholars in Texas who won the Hogg scholarship. She is the mother of a teenage son and works full time at a behavioral health facility while pursuing her MSW degree.
Lowe hopes winning the scholarship inspires her son, she wrote in her scholarship application.
“My hope is that he sees that that all things are possible! I know there are so many of us struggling financially right now…,” the single mother said. “This scholarship is definitely a gift and would provide so much help for me towards my educational costs. I’m just thankful for the opportunity.”
Dr. Regina T. Praetorius, a professor in the School of Social Work, nominated Lowe for the scholarship. She appreciates Lowe’s dedication to improving the settings and experiences for those seeking treatment for suicidal ideation, Dr. Praetorius said.
“Suicide is a decision that leaves a legacy of pain and hurt for the remaining loved ones. It is usually a decision made by the deceased in a time of severe mental and emotional anguish…when the person was not able to see any way to end the pain other than to die,” said Dr. Praetorius, whose research areas include suicide and mental health. “It is a sorrowful situation that is often preventable with care and compassion.
“Jamie’s commitment to helping create suicide prevention services that are inclusive and welcoming inspires hope in me for the future of suicide prevention services.”
According to the Hogg Foundation, Texas suffers a critical shortage of mental health professionals to address concerns such as suicide.
According to the National Association of Social Workers data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Social Workers are the largest group of mental health service provides in the country. There are more clinically trained Social Workers providing mental health services than psychiatrists, psychologists, and psychiatric nurses combined.
In 2015, well over half of the counties in Texas did not have a psychiatrist working in their county and 40 counties did not have a Licensed Clinic.