Mercedes Kent is the Clinical Supervisor of the Springfield Outpatient Program. She joined the Gateway Foundation team in 2008. Mercedes obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Social work from the University of Illinois-Springfield. She then continued her educational path to obtain her Master’s Degree in Social Work, specializing in Mental Health, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Clinical Social Work. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker as well as a Certified Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Counselor. Mercedes coordinates the Internship program and provides clinical supervision to both Bachelors and Masters level students. As Clinical Supervisor of Springfield Outpatient, Mercedes is inspired by change. "[Our clients] ability to overcome insurmountable obstacles amazes me daily. I find great fulfillment in being a catalyst to the positive changes that they make in their lives. I know that I can't make the changes for them, but I can be that resource, listening ear, and support on their journey." She is an integral part of the Alumni Program and provides multiple trainings to staff. Mercedes also serves as a liaison to the media to share Gateway Foundation’s programs and resources as well as educating the public about substance use and mental health concerns and how to effectively cope.
While in-person contact is clearly preferred, the shift to online communication is a "silver lining" of how coronavirus has caused treatment providers to rethink their services, said Kent. "I believe that this is going to be a wonderful way for us to continue to provide services for clients that don't have access," she said, such as those who live in rural areas. "So this is one of the things that spawned out of all of this that is going on, to give us better ideas and better ways to reach those populations."