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Assistant Professor Nathaniel Brown Discusses Shortcomings of Oregon’s Mental Health System with OPB

November 11, 2020

  • Assistant Professor Nathaniel Brown
    Nina Johnson

Nathaniel Brown, assistant professor of professional mental health counseling, recently talked with Samantha Matsumoto and Donald Orr of OPB regarding Oregon’s mental health crisis and its shortage of counselors and therapists of color.

In the article, “Oregon’s mental health system falls short for people of color. A state lawmaker is trying to change that,” Brown points out that in order for Oregonians to tackle systemic issues, they must grapple with Oregon’s racist history.

“Oregon is predominantly white as a state, and you can’t run from that. You can look and see the number of providers that are located in the state of Oregon. And when you look at it, you can see who’s in the majority, who’s not in the majority.”

Brown argues that Oregon doesn’t have enough graduate schools and programs that offer mental health counseling, and when you don’t have enough educational programs and you’re not recruiting a diverse group of individuals through those institutions you end up recruiting the same type of people.

Additionally, he says, counselors in Oregon are required to complete 2,400 supervision direct hours with clients—often having to pay for those supervision hours themselves. In comparison, the state of Washington only requires half that. Some mental health care workers live on salaries of $30,000 to $40,000 a year.

The full article is available on OPB’s website.

The Professional Mental Health Counseling program at Lewis & Clark is accepting applications through January 5, 2021. Visit the program’s website for more information. For information regarding application requirements and deadlines, visit the admissions page or email

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