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Soaring higher: Congratulations to LHU’s mental health counseling program

More national recognition has come to Lock Haven.

Tuesday’s newspaper featured a story about Lock Haven University’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) program being recognized by Human Services Edu as one of the top 20 programs in the United States for 2019-2020.

Specifically, LHU’s program ranked ninth on a list of the Top 20 programs nationwide that are ranked by Human Services Edu due to having “the finest academic quality.”

LHU ranked ninth on the list.

The clinical mental health counseling program at LHU is a CACRP accredited 100 percent online program that provides quality education, low faculty-to-student ratios and meets the educational requirements for many states’ licensing boards.

Since the time of the program’s inception in fall 2012, it has grown to more than 120 students.

Those in the field say there is a mental health crisis in America.

And they point to a lack of treatment options for mental health issues.

Yet, the demand for mental health services is stronger than ever, with nearly six in ten (56%) Americans seeking or wanting to seek mental health services either for themselves or for a loved one, according to the National Council for Behavioral Health (www.thenationalcouncil.org).

Those needing/seeking mental health counseling are “skewing younger and are more likely to be of lower income and have a military background. The large majority of Americans (76%) also believe mental health is just as important as physical health,” the NCBH says.

Dr. Kristin Vincenzes, the LHU program director, attributes the program’s tremendous success to a team effort from the faculty, administration, staff, students, alumni and community partners that support the program.

“The recognition of clinical mental health counseling at Lock Haven University as one of the top national programs demonstrates the success that any university can have when its resources are geared toward innovation and excellence,” said Dr. John Nauright, dean of the Stephen Poorman College of Business, Information Systems and Human Services. “The CMHC program at Lock Haven attracts students from around the country and placement of our online faculty in New Mexico, Colorado and Illinois in addition to Central Pennsylvania has expanded our ability to serve our students and provide quality clinical placements nationally.”

He said Dr. Vincenzes and her team continue to inspire students and colleagues with their passion, professionalism and proven results.

In addition, two new certificate programs recently were added to the clinical mental health counseling program this spring semester with students currently enrolled. The programs are foundations of trauma-informed care, for six credits, and trauma-informed counseling, for 12 credits.

We know that strong leadership is a big reason for this program’s success.

We also know that proper investment in people and resources empowers that leadership.

Lock Haven University should be congratulated for that leadeship and investment.

This small college along the river is at the top of the class in this particular discipline.

We hope young people seeking a career in mental health counseling and those in the field seeking continuing education take heed of this recognition.

In its 150th year, LHU is certainly soaring higher!

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