Graduate psychology education program receives fifth round of funding to address mental health needs


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Federal grant to graduate psychology program will provide mental health care to the underserved throughout the region.

What you need to know:

  • Graduate Psychology program to receive $478,968 to help with mental health care.
  • The grant is the 5th installment in a set of federal funding for the program.
  • The program will give special attention to areas throughout Appalachia that have little to no mental health care available.
  • The funding is used to support student training stipends while they deliver the mental health services.

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – The Marshall University Graduate Psychology Education program is the recipient of a federal grant that could change the care those with mental health issues in the region receive.

The $478,968 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) aims to promote the training of psychologists dedicated to serving rural and underserved communities facing a high demand for mental health care.

This fifth round of funding allows the Graduate Psychology Education (GPE) program to continue its mission of equipping doctoral-level practitioners with the skills and knowledge necessary to serve the underserved communities, with a special emphasis on the Appalachian region. The Marshall University program meets the unusual role of helping a group that doesn’t have many options when it comes to mental health care.

“The Psy.D. program at Marshall has always had a focus on helping those who are from rural and underserved areas,” said Dr. Keith Beard, director of the Psy.D. program. “This grant will help us to continue to provide quality care for those seen by our students. This award will help off-set a significant portion of the educational cost placed on our students.”

The primary focus of the funding is to support student training stipends while they deliver essential services in high-need regions within the state. Students will gain valuable experience and insights into working as part of integrated primary care teams, which is a key aspect of the program. This integrated model ensures that behavioral health services are seamlessly incorporated within primary care settings, thereby reducing stigma and providing more efficient access to much-needed care. This holistic approach enables patients to receive comprehensive health care, addressing both physical and mental well-being.

Moreover, Marshall University’s GPE program places a strong emphasis on helping individuals heal from generational trauma while also working to reduce the risks and impact of substance use and opioid addiction, both of which are closely intertwined with trauma. By equipping practitioners with culturally responsive models, the program strives to meet the critical needs of the local population effectively.

“Understanding the unique aspects of those living in our area is important in effectively treating those individuals and their families,” Beard said. “This will help maintain treatment gains and help the cycle of problems from continuing.”

Appalachian communities face twice the rate of diseases of despair compared to the non-Appalachian population. The decline in the risk of overdose deaths in Appalachia is slower compared to the national average. These statistics underscore the pressing need for mental health services throughout the area, of which many counties are designated as having mental health shortages by HRSA, with few if any providers available.

Approximately 65-70% of program graduates remain in Appalachia and continue serving these communities after completing their studies in the graduate psychology program.

For more information about Marshall University’s graduate psychology education program and its initiatives, visit


Contact: Clark Davis, Senior University Relations Specialist, 304-696-3408,

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