FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 24, 2017
CONTACT: Hope LaFreniere, firstname.lastname@example.org
Board of Regents Approves Online Clinical Mental Health Counseling Degree
Texas Tech University System Board of Regents approved the establishment of the Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Master of Science in Addiction Counseling on February 24.
“Distance learning creates opportunities everywhere,” TTUHSC President Tedd L. Mitchell, M.D., said. “More than 72 percent of counties in the state of Texas are missing a psychiatrist. Removing the stigma of mental illness begins with supplying competent, caring providers in areas where mental illness is discussed in hushed tones. We empower these underserved areas by providing educational opportunities that will improve the understanding of mental illness and the health of the community.”
The online programs will be offered through the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) School of Health Professions and the F. Marie Hall Institute of Rural and Community Health to fill critical mental health and addiction counselor shortages in rural West Texas.
Forty-three million adults in the United States experience mental illness, 10 million of whom suffer from an addiction disorder. Twenty-five percent of mental illnesses develop before the age of 14, with three-quarters of Americans developing chronic mental illness by 24 years of age. The shortfall of mental health counselors is projected to worsen by 19 percent over the next seven years, while the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the need for addiction counselors to increase 30 percent by 2024.
Graduate students from both programs will be eligible for a certificate in telemedicine through the F. Marie Hall Institute for Rural Health, creating the first counseling programs in the United States to train practitioners in clinical counseling skills and distance service provision techniques.
Both master’s degrees will seek accreditation by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Only seven institutions offer CACREP accredited masters-level addiction counseling programs, with only one institution using a distance education model.
The TTUHSC model will allow the School of Health Professions to recruit students from areas with limited access to traditional educational methods and offer students the academic and clinical foundation needed to pursue employment in clinical services in rural areas.