Today@Sam Article

SHSU Psychology Program Meets The Needs Of A Growing Industry

May 31, 2023
SHSU Media Contact: Mikah Boyd

By Nhi Nguyen

People's mental health has been significantly impacted by the pandemic. As a result, there is a rising need for practitioners in the mental health industry. Social dynamics have also been affected by COVID-19. Social distancing and working remotely changed how individuals communicate with one another. Although students had the opportunity to continue their education despite the pandemic, according to Jorge Varela, chair of Sam Houston State University's psychology department, they were missing out on the campus community and developing relationships with faculty.

Chelsea RatcliffA project focused on researching the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people's mental health was undertaken by Chelsea Ratcliff and her colleagues from the psychology department at Sam Houston.

“There was a survey done in April of 2020 by the American Psychological Association indicating that nearly 40% of patient parents were reporting moderate or severe depression and anxiety symptoms, which is around two or three times higher than it was before the pandemic,” Ratcliff said.

The study highlighted the importance of providing adequate mental health support and resources to individuals and families during times of crisis.

SHSU offers a Bachelor of Science in Psychology program that prepares students for various careers in the field of psychology. The program has classes that cover all facets of psychology and equips students with the knowledge they need to comprehend how and why certain behaviors take place. For undergraduates, the psychology department has over 850 declared majors with over 23 full-time faculty members. As for graduate students, the psychology program has four graduate degree programs with a total student enrollment of over 100 graduate students accounting for numerous research opportunities.

Ratcliff has a genuine appreciation for her role in Sam Houston's psychology program. One of her favorite aspects is the opportunity to build relationships with her students. She notes that many faculty members share her enthusiasm for working with undergraduates, creating numerous chances for mutual benefit.

“We have several faculty members who are conducting impressive real-world research, and undergraduates can get involved through events like the Undergraduate Research Symposium,” Ratcliff said.

This collaboration between students and faculty is a significant benefit of the program. It allows students to gain valuable experience with the research process and different types of projects.

Sam Houston State University's psychology program equips students with the knowledge and skills necessary to pursue careers in this field, including opportunities for research collaboration with faculty members. The pandemic has also created changes in social dynamics that require the expertise of sociologists to understand better. As the demand for mental health professionals and sociologists continues to grow, Sam Houston's psychology program remains committed to providing excellent education and training for students who seek to make a positive impact in their communities.

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