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Caring for the Troops and the Troubled

Adam Griffy

MSW '19

msw student headshot of adam griffy

“I like the person-to-person aspect of helping people...”

For six years, Adam Griffy served as a Navy Fleet Marine Force Corpsman. “My job was to be the first echelon of care for Marines, sailors, and other coalition force members,” he says. “My specialty was combat medical care.”

Back stateside after three stints in Iraq, Griffy was able to provide a different type of care—mental health care—to clients during his internship at Rosecrance, a substance abuse and mental health center in Champaign.

Mental health has long been an interest of his, stemming from his fascination with human behavior. He has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Eastern Illinois University, and decided on an MSW because “I’ve always wanted to help people. I just didn’t know the best route to take. I decided on social work because I saw the need for improved mental health within society, and I want to make a difference.”

Mental health care, he says, has been an overlooked area in the country, and he wants to be part of the change to address those needs. “I like the person-to-person aspect of helping people,” he adds. “That appeals to me.”

He entered the School of Social Work figuring he’d focus his work on veterans, but developed an interest in helping children and adolescents develop socially and emotionally, as well.

“I plan to work in a clinic for a while after getting my MSW,” Griffy says, “and I want to earn my LCSW and also work with charitable organizations outside of work.” He also talks of eventually going on for a PhD, and he is writing a book on the social and emotional needs within different populations, bringing his military experiences into the mix.

Griffy was the recipient of the 2019 Becca Nimmer Marcus Award, an award that goes to a student who plans to work in mental health as a profession.

“It helps in both a professional and personal sense,” Griffy says. “It motivates me in that I know my work is appreciated and that I have somebody behind me.”

After graduation, Griffy hopes to be hired at Rosecrance. Wherever he works, he wants to be part of the effort to get rid of the stigma of mental health care.

“It energizes me to work with people who seek out help, who want to make a change in their lives,” he says. “Or, if they don’t have that mindset yet, to go to work with the intent of bettering someone’s life.”

He is better equipped to do so, he says, by the time he has spent in the School. “I’ve had a great experience here,” he says. “One thing I like about the School is the professors not only treat you as a student, but also as a colleague. I really appreciate that.”

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