BriAnne Hutchinson, PMHC ‘21, chosen as the NBCCF Rural Scholarship recipient
BriAnne Hutchinson, Professional Mental Health Counseling ’21, has been awarded the National Board for Certified Counselors Foundation’s (NBCCF) Rural Scholarship. This scholarship aims to increase culturally competent mental health counselors in rural communities throughout the United States. Hutchinson says she appreciates the NBCCF “because they strongly value community collaboration and professional networking to center mental health resources for underserved populations.”
Hutchinson became interested in serving rural communities while working as a river guide on the Trinity and Klamath rivers–an area home to Northwest California Native American tribes–in the rural town of Willow Creek, California. Hutchinson had always loved connecting with nature, and living in a small-town farming community close to amazing rivers was a perfect setting for her. Despite the seeming limitless beauty that nature had to offer, Hutchison soon discovered that not all resources were quite as bountiful. While living in Willow Creek and navigating her own mental health needs, Hutchinson became poignantly aware of the community’s extreme lack of mental health resources.
“In general, rural communities in the United States are largely underserved in terms of mental health services,” says Hutchinson. “I was living in Willow Creek when I decided to move away for graduate school…my experience teaching yoga and co-facilitating month-long yoga teacher trainings taught me a lot about mind-body connection practices and strongly influenced my desire to become a Licensed Professional Counselor.”
After Lewis & Clark, Hutchinson plans to return to the Willow Creek area and work as a mental health professional for transition-age youth and adults in the local Native American communities.
“These communities are largely underserved in terms of access to mental health services,” adds Hutchinson. “I hope to contribute the knowledge and experience I have gained from Lewis & Clark and the NBCC Foundation to strengthen the resources and resiliency that the communities of Humboldt and Trinity county are already using to take care of themselves and each other.”
Hutchinson credits motivational support to pursue the NBCCF Rural Scholarship to her advisor Carol Doyle, Counseling Psychology Assistant Professor, James Grule, MA, LPC, and Counseling Psychology Assistant Professor, Alexia DeLeon. Hutchinson found their encouragement valuable to apply to a scholarship that aligned with her experience and goals to work with rural populations in the future.
Hutchinson encourages soon to be counseling professionals to “find what you love and incorporate that into your professional role the best way you can. Be humble to mistakes, shortcomings or things that feel unfamiliar to you; these are all areas for growth and increased awareness. Network with other professionals who are working with similar populations as you and don’t try to do everything alone. Collaboration and resource sharing build strength and resiliency in many ways.”
More information about the Graduate School’s counseling programs is available on our website.