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Community Mental Health and Addictions Interest Area

Track in Community Mental Health and Addictions (CMHA)

The Community Mental Health and Addictions interest area emphasizes the skill sets and knowledge needed to work with individuals with mental health or addictions concerns.

Courses in this interest area are designed to provide students with a foundation in substance abuse, abnormal psychology, and community mental health services and practices. Additionally, since a large proportion of individuals with mental illness and addictions are at higher risk for involvement in the criminal justice system, a course in corrections rehabilitation is also recommended.

RHS students who chose an interest area in Community Mental Health and Addictions integrate their academic training by completing a one-semester internship working in a RHS setting under the supervision of a trained mental health or addictions professional. The special topic course is available for students who want to further define their interest area. For example, students who want to work with youth with mental health or addictions concerns may choose to take a course in adolescent development for their special topic.

A RHS degree with a focus in mental health and addictions will prepare students to work in a variety of settings including community mental health organizations, psychiatric rehabilitation programs, adult and juvenile correctional settings, as well as community agencies that serve people with addiction problems. This concentration will also prepare students to pursue graduate degrees in mental health counseling, addictions counseling, psychiatric rehabilitation, social work, criminal justice, and rehabilitation counseling. Penn State University offers a master's in Counselor Education with an emphasis in School Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling, Career Counseling, and Mental Health Counseling in community School Settings. If you would like more information about Penn State's programs, please go to CN ED master's page.

The recommended courses are noted below.  Additional information per course can be found on the University Bulletin.

Recommended Courses for the CMHA Interest Area:

  • CN ED 422: Foundations of Addictions Counseling

  • PSYCH 270: Introduction to Abnormal Psychology

  • RHS 401: Community Mental Health Practices and Services

  • RHS 428: Rehabilitation in Corrections

  • Special Topic Option - In consultation with their advisers, students select one (or more) special topic courses at the university that will target their specific learning objectives for their career goals.

  • Internship - In MH/Addiction Setting


Faculty Consultants:

Students interested in this interest area should contact one of the faculty below and enter Community Mental Health and Addictions in the subject line.

Dr. O'Sullivan

Dr. Conyers