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CHI Health, Creighton University seeks to alleviate shortage of mental health services

LINCOLN, Neb. (Nebraska) – Nebraska health officials say mental health conditions are on the rise nationwide, but services aren’t so easy to find.

Since the pandemic, the mental health of Americans has been in decline.

“We are seeing a mental health crisis continue to escalate, truly to a degree we have not seen before from historic measures across the country,” said Robin Conyers, vice president of behavioral health services at CHI.

Conyers said this presents a challenge for the mental health care workforce.

According to a report by the University of Nebraska Medical Center, 88 of Nebraska’s 93 counties have a shortage of mental health professionals.

“The more rural you get, the harder it is for those people who need that care,” Conyers said.

After seeing a need in our state for mental health services, CHI partnered with the College of Nursing at Creighton University.

They are creating an online scholarship program for nurses to train in mental health services.

“It’s a one-year certification that includes instructional classes, all of which are online, as well as clinical experiences,” said Nursing School’s Sara Banzhaf.

The program is designed for nurses who are already working in hospitals and seeing patients struggling with mental health issues.

“Rather than having to report them to someone when we know there’s a shortage of these providers out there, let’s prepare them to take care of, you know, just sort of the normal depressions and things that come to the office,” said Catherine Todero, principal of the school for nurses.

Creighton says this is just one way to ease the mental health crisis in our state.

“I think we need to keep thinking about how we can expand services beyond this program,” Todero said.

The program is funded by the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska.

Creighton hopes to launch the program by May.

Tags: Nebraska Behavioral Health Education Center, CHI Health, CHI Health Creighton University Medical Center – Bergan Mercy, Creighton University, mental health care, mental health crisis, mental health resources, mental health service certificate, Nebraska Mental Health, Nebraska Mental Health Services , Nursing Program, Nursing Scholarship

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