New Certification Program for Nurses Focuses on Growing Need for Mental Health Care


A new, fully online psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner certificate program has been launched by the Illinois State University’s Mennonite College of Nursing, which is accepting applications for summer 2021.

A new psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) certificate program has been launched by Illinois State University’s Mennonite College of Nursing (MCN). According to the university, the fully online program is now accepting applications for summer 2021.1

The program is available to licensed advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) who are nationally certified as family nurse practitioners. According to the university, the program’s goal is to equip APRNs with the knowledge, training, and certification needed to meet the mental health care needs of patients. The program also addresses shortages of mental health care professionals that are occurring is some areas of Illinois by helping to fill these gaps.1

According to the nonprofit Mental Health America (MHA), full-year data for 2020 show a growing national need for mental health care. The community-based organization recorded 2.5 million people taking its’ online mental health screening in 2020, compared to 1 million people taking the screening in 2019.2

“The data shed a bright light on what we have been reporting throughout the past year,” said Paul Gionfriddo, president and CEO of MHA, in a prepared statement. “The mental health needs in the United States are reaching new highs– and public officials need to make the restoration of the mental health of our nation a top priority in 2021.”2

Among the mental health conditions that were shown to have increased in 2020 were anxiety, depression, thoughts of suicide or self-harm, and symptoms of psychosis. Many people who took the screening cited feelings of loneliness or isolation as reasons for their mental health struggles. According to MHA, by the end of 2020, more than 30% of those individuals cited the coronavirus disease 2019 as a reason. Other current events notably the 2020 presidential election, also were cited as having contributed to individuals’ mental health struggles last year.2

According to Judy Neubrander, dean of MCN, the college is dedicated to improving health in their local and regional communities, as well as globally, through trained nursing professionals.1

MCN’s new 5-course, 4-semester program focuses on population health and treatment of common psychiatric disorders across the lifespan, according to the university. The course will address topics such as psychopharmacology, psychotherapeutics for advanced psychiatric mental health nursing, and advanced psychiatric mental health nursing practice.1


  1. McMahon E. Mennonite College of Nursing launches psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner certificate. Illinois State University News. Published February 4, 2021. Accessed February 5, 2021.
  2. Mental health needs in the U.S. grew dramatically in 2020 [news release]. Alexandria, VA; February 3, 2021; Mental Health America. Accessed February 5, 2021.
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