The Georgia Southern University (GSU) School of Nursing recently received a $1.6 million grant to help better prepare students to work in the psychiatric/mental health care field through the new Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) Program.

The BHWET Program supports students in the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) specialty track of the BSN-DNP program, and aims to develop and expand the behavioral health workforce, increasing the number of providers prepared to deliver team-based psychiatric and mental health services to rural and medically underserved populations in South Georgia.

Melissa Garno, EdD, RN, professor, BSN program director, PMHNP project director, and the BHWET grant principal investigator, tells, “Primary care providers continue to be the most common portal of entry into our healthcare system. Area mental health providers are few, and mental health needs currently overwhelm area primary care settings, emergency rooms and communities. This program will provide support over the next four years for the education of psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner students in settings practicing an integrated model of mental health and primary care using a team approach.”

The program will help provide stipends for BSN-DNP students choosing the PMHNP specialty track which places them in facilities based on providing interprofessional and team-based care, including primary care services. Clinical placements through qualified agencies also helps assist in closing the gap in access to mental health services across the state.

To learn more about GSU’s grant for behavioral health workforce education, visit here.

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