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Minnesota State University, Mankato opening Rural Behavioral Health Center

Published: Mar. 4, 2022 at 5:19 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 4, 2022 at 6:58 PM CST
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - According to a 2021 Minnesota Department of Health workforce report, four out of five Minnesota counties qualify as mental health professional shortage areas.

That is where founding director Thad Shunkwiler came up with the idea for the brand-new Center for Rural Behavioral Health at Minnesota State University, Mankato to address the increasingly alarming issue.

“The same thing that everyone else found, that we are in a problem. There are not enough behavioral health care providers in Minnesota. So we have a problem now, but that projects to be a crisis in the near future. So. that work really led me to say well what can we do about it.”

The center will achieve its mission through research, workforce development and continuing education and attack the shortage issue head-on when it opens its door in the Fall.

“We have a lot of work to do and we have a long ways to go, but it has to start somewhere. It is my goal through this work that we can start that work this fall so for my kids and for the kids out there. They won’t be facing the same challenges that we are facing today,” Shunkwiler said.

This aligns with their ongoing mission to provide their students with the best possible chance to succeed after they get their cap and gowns.

“Even across our campus, for example, we have five programs that produce behavioral health care professionals, and they are spread across three colleges. It is not just faculty that are doing this work, it is going to be the students that are helping address this need,” Shunkwiler explained.

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