UH Hilo Helping to Address Hawai‘i’s Mental Health Needs

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The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo is assisting in an effort to meet the growing mental health needs of Hawaiʻi’s communities by offering a clinical mental health counselor training program through its Master of Arts Program in Counseling Psychology.

The program is the only one of its kind in the University of Hawai‘i System and is designed to provide multicultural, student-centered training in mental health counseling. The program is now being offered statewide via the UH System’s Hawaiʻi Interactive Video Service (HITS), which allows students who live on the neighbor islands or in distant locations on Hawaiʻi Island to take classes via video-conferencing. The program is currently recruiting applicants for its next cohort. The priority deadline is Jan. 1, 2019.

“Our students are trained to become knowledgeable, skillful, and ethical professional counselors who are eligible to become Licensed Mental Health Counselors in Hawai‘i,” noted Dr. Bryan Kim, director, MA Program in Counseling Psychology.

“The program is based on a scientist-practitioner model, which means that our students are taught to provide counseling services that have been rigorously evaluated for their effectiveness. Providing evidence-based mental health services is a national priority and has recently received a lot of media attention.”


According to Kim, major depressive disorder is one of the most prevalent psychological disorders in the country.

“The National Institute of Mental Health reports that 16.2 million adults in the United States, or 6.7% of the population, had at least one major depressive episode,” Kim said. “Roughly 8.5% of women and 4.8% of men suffer from MDD at any given time.

“In the past several years, our country has become more familiar with these types of disorders as the media puts more spotlights on mental health issues,” Kim added. “A recent report on Hawaii News Now stated that Hawaiʻi ranks at the bottom of states with access to care among mentally ill adults. Sixty-eight percent of Hawaiʻi adults with a mental illness did not receive any mental health treatment compared to 56% nationally. A similar figure was reported for Hawaiʻi’s youths.”


For more information, go online or contact Dr. Bryan Kim at [email protected] or (808) 932-7090.

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