KEYSER — Potomac State College will offer a mental health and addiction studies major this fall.

Earning an associate of arts degree will allow graduates to either enter the workforce or pursue an advanced degree such as a Bachelor of Arts in mental health and addiction studies on WVU’s Morgantown campus.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health says 19.7 million Americans 12 and older battled a substance use disorder in 2017. That same year, 8.5 million American adults suffered from both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder, or co-occurring disorders.

Drug abuse and addiction cost American society more than $740 billion annually in lost workplace productivity, healthcare expenses and crime-related costs, the National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates.

Potomac State College’s mental health and addiction studies major will provide instruction in mental health, prevention, intervention and community impacts, with a focus on addiction treatment and recovery. Courses will include psychology, sociology, child development and family studies.

The new major qualifies graduates for entry-level jobs in addiction, mental health and family support services. It also offers a counseling preparatory focus providing a direct path to the bachelor’s degree in the same major on the Morgantown campus.

Graduates may also eventually pursue graduate studies in counseling, social work, public health or other health-related disciplines.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says employment in the field is expected to grow 23%, a much faster rate than most other occupations. The median annual wage for substance abuse, behavioral disorder and mental health counselors was $48,520 in May 2021.

“With its well-rounded curriculum, Potomac State College’s new Mental Health and Addiction Studies major prepares students for fulfilling careers that lead to individual, family and community transformation,” said Cassandra Pritts, chair of the College’s Division of Liberal Arts.

For further information or to enroll, contact Enrollment Services at go2psc@mail.wvu.edu or call 304-788-6820.

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