“I want to be a counselor, and I want to help underserved children,” said Aviance Hines of Bunn, NC.
Hines will be part of the first class of students enrolled in the University of Mount Olive’s (UMO) new Master of Science in Counseling: Clinical Mental Health online degree program which starts this fall. Hines graduated from UMO in 2018 with a degree in Early Childhood Education. Since that time, she has worked in the school system where mental health counseling has not been readily available for young students. Hines has also personally battled with the lack of counseling services for her own eight-year-old son who struggles with ADHD, epilepsy, and disruptive behavior disorder.
“Both personally and professionally I have seen the behavioral problems of young children go untreated simply because there are no resources available for our youngest population,” she said. “This is one of the motivating factors that has led me to want to become a counselor.”
“Hines is a perfect candidate for UMO’s new Master of Science in Counseling: Clinical Mental Health program which prepares graduates with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to be successful in a variety of counseling related settings including marriage and family, substance use and addictions, and general counseling,” said UMO Associate Dean of Behavioral and Health Sciences Dr. C. Ray Taylor.
Taylor expressed an expected rise in the need for mental health counseling as a result of COVID-19. “We anticipate the need for mental health counseling services for children, families, and older adults will grow at an alarming rate due to COVID-19,” Taylor said.
According to Taylor, UMO’s 100% online program is designed to allow adult students to develop clinical proficiencies through academic courses and practicum experiences at a time and setting convenient to their schedule.
“This degree is a fit for individuals who have earned a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and now seek a graduate counseling education,” Taylor said. “A background in psychology is helpful, though not required.”
Taylor noted that the program can be completed in two years, or six semesters of full-time continuous enrollment.
The convenience and flexibility of online learning is what attracted Jordan Dempsey of Goldsboro to the program. “For some time now, I have been interested in pursuing a masters in counseling,” she said. “However, I needed a program that would allow me to further my education while continuing to work full time. Finding out that UMO offers an online master’s degree in counseling was a big relief! Being a UMO alumna, I know that their programs and staff are high quality. I believe this program will provide many benefits for students looking to further their education, and I am very excited to be a UMO Trojan again!”
Dempsey graduated from UMO in May of 2018 with her bachelor’s degree in recreational therapy. She currently works at a mental health hospital in Raleigh. “I have seen firsthand how impactful counseling can be in the treatment of individuals with mental illness,” she said. “With an advanced degree and knowledge, I want to not only be able to provide more for patients, but also to help break the stigma against mental health.”
Hines agreed, “With my master’s degree in counseling, I want to help children thrive and be successful in and out of the classroom. I think children who get early interventions have better adolescent and adult lives. Why wait to help children when we have resources that can help them while they’re young and be able to cope using social and emotional mechanisms that can help them become great?”
For more information, about the Master of Science in Counseling: Clinical Mental Health degree, contact Dr. Taylor at Ctaylor@umo.edu, or call 1-800-653-0854.