The National Board for Certified Counselors-International (NBCC-I) awarded Melissa Luke, associate professor and coordinator of the School Counseling program in the Counseling and Human Services Department in the School of Education, with a research grant to study the NBCC-I Mental Health Facilitator program in Mexico City, Mexico, and Malawi this past Spring 2013.
Luke designed the research protocol for counseling services with Dr. J. Scott Hinkle, NBCC Director of Professional Development, and Dr. Wendi Schweiger, Associate Vice President of NBCC International, and then implementing the protocol in Spring 2013 with visits to the two countries. The research will shed light on the effectiveness of the Mental Health Facilitator program, an established credential program designed to help areas of the world in which counseling is not professionalized.
Through the designed protocol, Luke will conduct field research in native communities and teach non-counselor professionals basic communication and counseling skills, help them connect with individuals who need counseling, and help them understand how to best utilize the mental health resources available in the community. All of the findings will help educators better understand the efficacy and best practices associated with the Mental Health Facilitator program, which was developed in consultation with the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse of the World Health Organization with the goal of helping establish a proper balance between school and community resources and mental health care needs worldwide.
“I see this as a bridge between my current work and my future work,” Luke says. “It’s opportunity to look at counseling services for underserved populations on an international domain.”
Luke has spent much of her career focusing on teaching and counseling underrepresented youth and has over 15 years of experience. Her expertise is in school counseling program implementation and partnerships efforts in urban areas between schools, families, and communities. Luke is committed to preparing school counselors for working with underrepresented groups, such as LGBTIQ students, students with disabilities, and first in families to attend college.