East Texas Baptist University recently received a $100,000 grant from the East Texas Medical Center (ETMC) Foundation. This marks the third year the University has received grant funds from ETMC to help meet the growing need for mental healthcare in Smith County and the greater East Texas region.
“As we continue to grow and develop our ETBU-Tyler campus center, East Texas Baptist is grateful for the ETMC Foundation and their continued partnership in meeting the mental health needs of the East Texas region,” ETBU President J. Blair Blackburn said. “Our desire is to stand in the gap between East Texas citizens and the need for mental health care in the region. The ETMC Foundation’s support over the last few years has been crucial to the growth of ETBU’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling program and the increase in clients that the Community Counseling Center at ETBU-Tyler has been able to serve.”
ETBU opened the Community Counseling Center in 2020 at the ETBU-Tyler site and launched a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at ETBU-Tyler in January of 2021. The total number of students enrolled in the program at the Marshall and Tyler campuses has doubled since 2019 as a result of the additional ETBU-Tyler campus.
“Our Community Counseling Center has experienced a significant rise in the number of clients seeking counseling services since we began in 2020,” Director of ETBU-Tyler’s Community Counseling Center Terrie Howe said. “I believe these numbers are strong indicators that the program is making a positive impact on the mental health needs in Smith County, yet are even more reflective of the vital need for more accessible and affordable mental health counseling services.”
Both the counseling center and classes for the MA program are designed with working professionals in mind, featuring flexible evening and online courses. The University’s two-pronged approach enables ETBU to address current needs for mental healthcare while providing for the growing demand for additional qualified and trained Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) in the mental health field.
“In a post-COVID world, the mental health needs of all ages have become more acute,” ETBU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Thomas Sanders said. “This investment by the ETMC Foundation provides care for the needs of people today and increases the capacity for more licensed counselors in the future.”
The ETMC Foundation is a private foundation created by the sale of the East Texas Medical Regional Healthcare system to Ardent Health Services in 2018.