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College to offer Mental Health, Addiction Studies major

Poster for Mental Health & Addition Studies

West Virginia University Potomac State College will offer a Mental Health and Addiction Studies major starting this fall for individuals who are interested in a helping profession. 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 degree in Mental Health and Addiction Studies on the Morgantown campus.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 19.7 million American adults (aged 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 according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Potomac State College’s Mental Health and Addiction Studies major will provide a broad knowledge base 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, among others.

The Mental Health and Addiction Studies major qualifies graduates for entry-level jobs in addiction, mental health and family support services. This major 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.

Mental health and addiction professionals are in greater demand than ever before. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in these fields 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 or call 304-788-6820.