Featured Trainer: Felicia Roche, MHC, M.A.

Housing First University
Featured Trainer: Felicia Roche text on a dark background with a circle frame of Felicia's headshot

Q: Tell us about your professional and/or educational background.

I am a mother, author, public speaker, therapist, and mental health advocate. Spending years as a social justice, education equity, and systems reform activist, I have committed a great deal of time promoting awareness around mental illness and the impact it has on my community. I am most passionately a professional counselor and leadership coach which allows me to provide organizational wellness consultation to various non-profit and youth serving organizations across Philadelphia. Earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Drexel University and a master’s degree in mental health and wellness from New York University (NYU), I use my education and background in mental health to promote awareness through speaking engagements, trainings, and workshops. I use my personal journey, expertise, and story of survival to support people in finding ways to heal and achieve personal freedom.

Q: What has been interesting about your work at Pathways/HFU so far compared to previous work you’ve done?

I am still new to the position; however, what has been most interesting and honestly most refreshing so far is witnessing how well-informed, passionate, and compassionate our trainers and clinical staff are. Being an organizational wellness consultant and counselor, I see a lot of burnout from staff at the agencies I have contracted with, and understandably so. I have been tasked with inspiring and motivating community service providers and social workers to re-engage with their “why”. It is an interesting role, helping people reconnect with why they got into this work in the first place and encouraging them to keep doing the good work we do. In contrast, I am finding that the staff here at Pathways to Housing PA and Housing First University are optimistic, driven, and clear about the mission to end homelessness. I have been reenergized since starting my position here.

Q: What do you enjoy about training? What topics are you most passionate about talking about? 

My favorite part about training is engaging in meaningful conversation in common spaces. Whether we’re challenging each other, learning something new from one another, or simply providing a safe and liberated space to process and commiserate about our shared experiences, I find it helpful for us to feel a sense of community, given the nature of our work. 

Q: What do you wish more people understood about the social service field? 

I wish more people understood that those who do this work are doing it in service to others. One of the reasons I chose organizational wellness and professional development as my field of choice within the mental health profession is because I strongly believe that service providers deserve more respect, more support, and better pay. We should honor and uphold all those who support and care for our participants. I would love to see higher standards and substantial investments put into the social services field that promote health, wellness and an a real attention to decreasing burnout. I feel fortunate to be amongst others who hold some of those same values here at Pathways PA and with Housing First University. 

Felicia Roche & Ryan Villagran are the lead trainers for our upcoming Fundamentals of Suicide Prevention webinar on 5/16. 

Register Here