Mental Health Strike at Kaiser Oakland - 01/01/2024 at 7pm - Learn More >>

Sara Thorson

Sara Thorson is a licensed mental health clinician currently working in the San Mateo-Foster City School District.

What inspired you to pursue a career in behavioral health?

I was drawn to the behavioral health field as a way of impacting larger societal change by working with individuals on their healing journey. I was deeply moved by my undergraduate studies in philosophy and the personal growth I experienced in my early 20s. Having a framework to explore and affirm my identity as a working class, queer, cis-woman was a radically freeing experience and I wanted others to have access to that level of personal growth. As my studies came to a close, I felt the natural application of what I had learned was to work with people therapeutically. I also have family and loved ones impacted by serious mental illness, suicide, and substance abuse. Many years ago my family attempted to get support through Kaiser. I felt then and now know that was terrible family therapy. As I healed and grew from that experience, I wanted others to have a better experience than I did.

How has being in NUHW helped you in your profession?

Connecting with NUHW has been affirming and inspiring. I cross-pollinated with NUHW through my organizing with the Bloom and Grow Collective, a group founded to support and advocate for the wellbeing of mental health providers. Through our collaboration, we have attended BHAM steering committee meetings, featured BHAM in an article we published, participated with a panel on unionizing in mental health, and been featured in a BHAM newsletter. What I appreciate the most about my participation with NUHW and BHAM is the camaraderie of being a part of the mental health field that is calling for and actively moving to change — dismantling and rebuilding more sustainable systems and policies for clinicians and clients.

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