NASHUA, N.H. — Rivier University is now the latest New Hampshire college that is working to boost the state’s mental health workforce and address its drug crisis by training more people in the behavioral health and substance use disorder fields, officials said.

The Nashua-based Rivier has created the Center for Behavioral Health Professions and Workforce Development in response to a growing demand for graduate programs for counseling, school counseling, psychiatric nurse practitioners, public health and other areas.

Sister Paul Marie Buley, Rivier’s president, said the center would create partnerships with the region’s health care providers a time when the opioid epidemic has strained an already think medical and behavioral health workforce. The school has been awarded a $1 million federal grant to expand the behavioral health workforce in rural areas.

“In many medically underserved communities, the need is dire and the demand for these professionals is growing,” she said. “The situation calls for a comprehensive, cooperative approach that begins with education and training to meet the needs of medical and behavioral health treatment providers.”

Last year, New England College created a new master’s degree program in partnership with community mental health centers and a certification program in substance abuse treatment.

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