A new nurse practitioner program in psychiatric mental health at The University of Texas at El Paso’s School of Nursing will help to address the sharp increase in mental health problems and psychological distress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There is an urgent need for mental health providers in Texas and across the United States,” said School of Nursing Dean Leslie K. Robbins, Ph.D., a certified adult psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioner, and an adult psychiatric and mental health clinical nurse specialist.
“We provide a full range of mental health services to patients needing psychiatric care. Graduates from our program will improve access to a shortage of mental health services, which have been disrupted by the COVID-19 crisis.”
Applications are currently being accepted for UTEP’s Master of Science in Nursing program for Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (PMHNP), which will start in fall 2020.
Courses will be offered in a hybrid format that combines online and face-to-face instruction.
The two-year program is designed to prepare advanced practice nurses to provide a full spectrum of mental health services across the lifespan in community, acute care and telemental health settings.
PMHNPs provide mental health assessments, diagnosis, medication management and therapy.
According to the Texas Board of Nurses, El Paso County had 33 psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners in 2019. There were no psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners listed in the surrounding West Texas counties of Brewster, Lovington, Culberson, Presidio, Reeves, and Jeff Davis.
A recent survey by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that anxiety and depression has tripled in U.S. adults to 13.6% in April 2020 from 3.9% in 2018. In the April 2020 issue of JAMA Internal Medicine, the authors warn of a “pandemic” of behavioral problems and mental illness as a consequence of COVID-19.
“Now, more than ever, our community needs access to clinicians who promote mental health and stand ready to provide assessment and treatment of various mental health-related conditions,” said Amy Field, UTEP’s PMHNP program director. “Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners combine biological, psychological, social and spiritual components to treat the whole person using various therapies, including talk therapy and the prescription of medication.”
For information about the PMHNP program, contact Amy Field at firstname.lastname@example.org.