New Psychiatric Mental Health DNP Program Designed to Address Crisis
Our country is in a mental health crisis that began even before the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The arrival of COVID-19 exacerbated the situation, triggering surges in depression and anxiety worldwide. Today, over 26 million Americans experiencing a mental illness are going untreated, many because they lack access. According to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), 149 million Americans live in an area with a shortage of mental health professionals.
People need help, and psychiatric nurse practitioners are in high demand.
As part of SMU’s commitment to preparing professionals to address today’s healthcare needs, the College of Nursing will launch the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program this fall. Designed for BSN and MSN graduates, the program equips students with the skills necessary to meet the mental health needs of children and adolescents as well as older adults. The primary emphasis is on care management through medication and therapy. By the end of their third clinical course, students will be managing patients on their own, with supervision. The goal of the program is to prepare students to function autonomously in a variety of settings.
“Graduates will serve diverse populations dealing with contemporary mental health issues, such as long-term COVID-19 infection, the trauma of gun violence, postpartum depression, and loneliness and isolation among older adult populations,” says Associate Professor and Program Director Angela Hudson. “SMU is committed to serving the community, and our program prepares students to meet the pressing needs and challenges of society today.”
The three-year program will be delivered online, with a one- to two-day clinical intensive on SMU’s Oakland campus. Many PMHNP students are expected to receive job offers at their respective clinical placements due to the need for mental health practitioners.