INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An Indianapolis university has joined the ranks of helping expand the workforce to address mental health and substance abuse disorders.
Martin University is modifying its master’s program in community psychology to get the job done.
Data shows that 59% of people dealing with substance abuse are dealing with mental health concerns. The university will use a $100,000 grant from health insurance provider Anthem to support training efforts and, with a shortage of Black mental health experts, kicking this off at a Black-founded institution could be one way to diversify the workforce.
Substance use disorders continue to impact Indiana’s communities, and, since the pandemic, mental health advocates say rates continue to rise while support options continue to dwindle. Brian Steuerwald said, “We hope that we can have an impact with our students doing that work in that field to diversify the workforce by to address some of the disparities that we see in health care among Black and brown communities.”
For years, the program centered on providing students the tools to become licensed mental health counselors in Indiana, but, with growing substance use, they are expanding that work. “Substance-abuse disorder and mental health they all fall under the same purview as psychiatric conditions,” Steuerwald said.
Anthem awarded the grant so the university can revamp its curriculum, teaching assessment and treatment techniques to allow students to become licensed mental health and substance use counselors after graduation.
Depression and anxiety are common issues with people living with substance abuse disorder.
Representatives say because historically communities of color have been undeserved in terms of access to mental health and substance disorder support.
“We know people of various cultures and backgrounds like to be counseled by people who are similar to them,” Steuerwald said.