Social work student strengthens mental health care across broader community

September 09, 2022

Pedro Silva sitting at a desk

The recent surge of mental health awareness demonstrates the profound value of therapy in daily life, which Pedro Silva '21, MS ’23 is committed to cultivating.

“I’m interested in therapy as more of a mindset," said Silva. "Therapy offers the semblance to have some peace; everyone needs to have time to destress. Through my research, I found that 85 percent of therapy is given by social workers.”

Silva obtained his bachelor's from Quinnipiac with a double major in psychology and sociology. He’s currently pursuing a master’s in social work as he works full-time as a Birth to Three Transition Coordinator for the Waterbury Board of Education.

“I host transition meetings, gathering general information and bringing it to my team," said Silva. "I work with specialists, administrators, physical and occupational therapists, and teachers. The children I work with have lots of strengths but need support because of cognitive, communication and mobility delays.”

Silva’s previous internships provided a deeper understanding of the human condition while informing his future work. He volunteered and eventually interned with the Women and Families Centers in Meriden and New Haven; he also worked with Bridgeport’s judicial branch adult probation division.

“I ran a men’s support group, which was conducted in more Spanish than bilingual dialect," said Silva. "It’s uncommon that men want to talk about sexual assault as survivors, and I worked to give them space to do that." 

Other notable results include establishing a 24/7 crisis line that provides advocates for “clients who don’t have a voice,” said Silva. Graduate students in the social work program at Quinnipiac continue to volunteer for women and families.

Silva also interned with Wellmore Behavioral Health’s diversionary program and helped to earn a grant that allowed a mobile crisis unit to expand services for adolescents regardless of the time of day.

He is now the president of the Social Work Association of Graduate Students and a member of the National Association of Social Workers, Connecticut Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology and Association for Conflict Resolution. He resides in Wolcott with his wife and their three small children.

As he continues his journey as a social work professional, Silva is grateful for the education and support he receives at Quinnipiac.

“The professors are fantastic, and the social work program is small enough that you don’t get lost in the mix. I also had space to be able to complete some graduate courses as an undergrad,” he said.

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