An estimated one fifth of American children have a mental disorder, but with a shortage of mental health professionals, only one third of those children receive treatment, according to the Center for Mental Health Services. In Missouri only 27 advanced practice nurses are certified in child and family mental health nursing.
"It’s a concern because if there aren’t enough nurses or mental health professionals to provide services to these children and their families then there are many more problems in the school system," said University of Missouri nursing professor Jane Bostick. "As they grow later in adults it seems if they have better mental health care in the early stages it becomes less of a problem when they’re an adult."
A new University of Missouri program will offer a post master’s certificate in child and family mental health. Bostick said her students have been asking for such a program for a long time.
"One thing they’ve been saying is they’re asked to do this in their present job and they feel that they need this background so that they can do a good job of it," she said.
The Bureau of Health Professions, part of the Health Resources and Services Administration, awarded the University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing a $370,000 grant to develop the certificate program. The nursing school will work with the College of Education to pool resources and faculty.
The certificate will be offered on campus and online. Students enrolled in the online course will not be charged out-of-state tuition.