IU's Ellen Vaughan is focused on making sure the next generation of mental health service providers are prepared
The need for students entering the mental health professions to be able to recognize and respond to addiction is greater than ever. However, addiction has been less emphasized in the coursework or training for those students.
Ellen Vaughan, associate professor at the IU School of Education, is focused on making sure the next generation of mental health service providers specializing in addictions are prepared.
Through her Responding to the Addictions Crisis Grand Challenge project, Vaughan has created a master’s track through the IU School of Education’s Mental Health Counseling and Counselor Education program in Bloomington as well as joined other IU campuses in an online certificate in addictions counseling. The evidence-based curriculum and practical training spans prevalence, prevention, assessment and treatment of substance use disorders.
It is all too often, Vaughan said, that she is asked where treatment is available in Indiana. For many areas, the answer has been, there is none or it is far away.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, there is a critical shortage of addictions counselors. The state of Indiana has fewer than 20 addictions counselors per 1,000 adults with a substance use disorder, leaving the state below the national average of 32.
The newly developed courses will not only address this issue but will align with the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration’s Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services mission “to ensure that Indiana citizens have access to quality mental health and addiction services.” The project also aligns with the state’s approach to addressing substance use in Indiana in teaching ethical and appropriate care, using evidence-based treatments, focusing on community engagement, taking care to address special populations and mental health disparities and emphasizing both prevention and intervention.
Vaughan’s project will also develop specialty practicum opportunities in addictions that will be supervised by counseling faculty.