© 2024 WXPR
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Students from the U.P. offered reduced-cost mental health nurse program under new federal grant

Stock Rocket - stock.adobe.com

In the U.P., it’s hard to get an appointment with one of the area’s few mental health providers.

A new federal grant will help to change that.

To adequately serve the full population of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, it’s estimated that the area would need at least 75 full-time equivalent psychiatrists.

In reality, they have less than 10.

Northern Michigan University and Saginaw Valley State University have teamed up to try to increase that number.

Their new program, BridgeUp, offers reduced cost training for a post graduate certification as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, otherwise known as PMHNP.

It’s funded by a $2.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration.

This is Amy Poirier, PMHNP clinical coordinator at Northern Michigan University.

“We all know that there's a need for more mental health providers, not only in the U.P., but all across the nation. This is one way to help get some more of those mental health providers out into the community,” said Poirier.

For anyone from the U.P., program costs are reduced by almost 85% and they’ll be reimbursed around $15,000 in their final three semesters.

The program is geared towards the working professional.

All coursework can be done online and they make sure that clinical placements are local for the students.

It’s estimated that around one in five adults live with a diagnosable mental illness.

Poirier says the U.P.’s lack of providers impacts the general population in many ways.

“They'll have to wait and suffer and not be able to be in recovery from whatever they're experiencing. And it can get worse as time goes on, if they're not getting the care that they need,” she said.

Patients can sometimes wait months before they can see a provider, even in private practices.

A 2021 studyfound that half of counties in the U.P. have no psychiatrist and only two counties had inpatient psychiatric beds available.

In lieu of more behavioral health providers, primary care physicians have attempted to fill the care gap, but they often face barriers.

The next semester starts in September and Poirier says BridgeUp is open to new students.

Hannah Davis-Reid is a WXPR Reporter.
Up North Updates
* indicates required
Related Content