The University of New England is launching a new program to bolster the state’s mental health profession workforce, which faces chronic shortages.

With an expected start date of fall 2025, UNE will enroll 15 students per graduating class in the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner program. The program is partly funded by a $2 million gift by the Judy Glickman Lauder Foundation, a Portland-based nonprofit.

“Maine’s health care worker shortage deeply affects those who struggle with their mental health. By educating more mental health professionals to meet rising demand, UNE will help ease workforce shortages and get people the care they need,” said UNE President James Herbert, a clinical psychologist. “As Maine’s largest provider of health professionals, UNE has a specific responsibility to address pervasive health issues in our own backyard. This new program will do just that.”

 The three-year master’s degree program based out of the Portland campus will also provide “targeted training” for students in the nursing program to learn about mental health.

“The mental health crisis in our country far surpasses our capacity to provide meaningful care for those in need,” said philanthropist Judy Glickman Lauder. “Meeting these needs begins with investing in well-trained and compassionate healthcare professionals. We are pleased to support the University of New England’s commitment to bring more mental health professionals into the field. Our family hopes others will join us in this crucial mission.”

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