The University of New England has partnered with the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services to address the long waits for mental health services in New Hampshire. To combat the labor shortage, the university has introduced a Bachelor of Arts program in community mental health. The program consists of a traditional classroom experience and two paid immersive experiences for students.
The program is designed to connect students who are passionate about meeting the mental health needs of Granite State residents with professionals across the state who are passionate about addressing the growing challenges associated with it. The partnership with DHHS provides the students with a meaningful and defined career path that allows them to earn while they study.
Through placement with an agency, each student commits to work 20 hours a week for approximately $20 an hour. Their responsibilities include providing customer care, supporting community activities, and facilitating group counseling sessions. The program will be contracting 10 mental health centers to operate.
The collaborative model of the program is highly valuable, according to Steve Arno, associate director of clinical services, quality and compliance at the Center for Life Management. He said that the NEC students working with them will help fill a critical labor shortage gap and help them fulfill their mission of promoting the health and well-being of individuals, families and organizations. Additionally, the program will help prepare students for full-time jobs at partner organizations once they graduate from NEC.