Success Stories - Mary Kellogg
Mary Kellogg, Bangor
Community Health and Counseling Services, Mental Health Care
In May, Mary Kellogg received her MSW degree from UMaine, two decades after earning degrees in law and foreign service from Georgetown University.
The irony wasn’t lost on the Bangor lawyer.
“I had a wonderful job in a legal practice,” says Kellogg, “but I wanted to get into work that related to people differently than I did in law. And from the time I started in the School of Social Work, it felt like the right thing for me, a different way of thinking about the world.”
In her primary practicum at Community Health and Counseling Services in Bangor, Kellogg focused on geriatric mental health, which is so inextricably linked to physical health in older adults. At the center, Kellogg did mostly home-based therapy, with some case management. In her rotations, she had access to elders and their care providers in inpatient units at hospitals and mental health facilities.
“Exposure to the interdisciplinary collaboration was an important part of my education,” she says. “It opened my eyes. I was finding work in geriatric mental health very satisfying.”
Kellogg says she has learned important lessons about human dynamics, and the environmental, social and economic factors that can affect people’s mental outlooks. She also came to better understand the ongoing struggle of elders to navigate the often daunting and fragmented system of social services.
“Understanding how different components of the system work is very important in providing effective service to the elderly,” says Kellogg, who is considering a career in geriatric case management, helping elders and their families find the services they need.
Her focus is in keeping with her view of elders as “people who have lived rich and full lives, and who want to stay connected with others.” People like her mother, who was in declining health in the last few years of her life.
“She opened my eyes to what it is like to try and help someone with the sorts of needs she had,” Kellogg says. “Yet even as the dementia progressed, the core of who she was as a person remained. She helped me understand this, and that was a gift.”