2021 BHWETPRO Award Announcement & Media Coverage

Plymouth State University Awarded $1.9 Million for Behavioral Workforce and Training

July 21, 2021

The Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded Plymouth State University’s (PSU) behavioral health master’s and educator specialist (EdS) level training programs for school psychology, school counseling, and clinical mental health counseling a $1,920,000 grant. The purpose of this Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training Program for Professionals 2021 (BHWETPRO) grant is to increase the behavioral health workforce in integrated, interdisciplinary behavioral health and primary care settings and expand access to behavioral health services in rural and medically underserved areas. This 4-year grant will allow PSU’s behavioral health programs to improve services for individuals across the lifespan, with a special focus on children, adolescents, and transitional-aged youth who are at risk of developing behavioral health disorders.

The funding will be used to focus on training PSU’s master’s and EdS level students and professionals in integrated prevention and clinical interventions with specific focus on evidence-based treatments. An emphasis will be placed on meeting the needs of those who are at risk for mental illness, substance use and misuse, suicide, intimate partner violence, youth violence and bullying, and those least likely to seek continuous help. This funding will facilitate inter-professional collaboration with statewide integrated and primary care health centers, schools, community mental health centers, hospitals, and correctional facilities, with the primary goals of closing the gap in access to behavioral health care and nurturing collaborative and safe communities. The funding will also be used to focus on New Hampshire’s opioid crisis and pandemic-related behavioral health needs.

The purpose of the grant is in line with the University’s Counselor Education and School Psychology programs’ mission of promoting social justice, equity, and inclusion for all members of society. Six years ago, PSU embarked on a groundbreaking integrated cluster model designed to facilitate inter-professional experiences for students/interns, faculty, and field supervisors. The grant is aligned with the vision of the University which seeks to produce leaders within interdisciplinary, integrated clusters, open labs, partnerships, and through entrepreneurial innovations and experiential learning. The core values of the University align with the goals of the grant and include informed action, collaboration and communication, leadership and engaged citizenship: local, regional, national, and global, and interdisciplinary research and scholarship.

The Counselor Education and School Psychology programs will use the funding to provide 29 internship stipends per year and will provide support for students attending local and national conferences. The Counselor Education and School Psychology programs will continue to offer the Annual Supervision Institute to prepare site supervisor in preparation for supporting school counseling, school psychology, and clinical mental health counseling interns. Additionally, funding will provide professional development opportunities to students, site supervisors, behavior health professionals, and the larger New Hampshire community.

The grant team at PSU is excited to continue their work throughout the State of New Hampshire in growing the behavioral health workforce to support the needs of residents. The BHWETPRO grant team members include: Co-Principal Investigators Dr. Robin Hausheer (lead), Dr. Chris Stoddard, and Dr. Gary Goodnough. Dr. Cynthia Waltman is a consultant on the grant team and Sara Donahue serves as the Grant Support Specialist. This is the fifth HRSA Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training grant awarded to the Counselor Education and School Psychology programs at PSU since 2014 for a total of $6.5M, the majority of which has directly supported students.

Plymouth State University Campus News Article (8/31/21)