Austin Peay State University Receives Grant for Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Clinic – Clarksville Online


Clarksville, TN – A few years ago, Austin Peay State University’s College of Behavioral and Health Sciences addressed a significant mental health crisis in the local community.

According to a Mental Health in America report, Tennessee ranked 45th in the nation for access to mental health care, so the college opened the Psychological Sciences and Counseling Clinic in the old Wesley Foundation building at 510 College Street.

The clinic, part of Austin Peay State University’s doctoral program in counseling psychology (Psy.D.), now serves low-income, underinsured and uninsured Clarksville residents who need mental health counseling. The facility provides evidence-based treatments for mood, trauma, anxiety and other issues to the community, but anyone who needs additional support through medication is referred to the one of the overworked psychiatric providers in the area.

“You can go (to the APSU clinic) for counseling, and the counselors often refer you to psychiatrists or psychiatric nurse practitioners if you need medication to meet your mental health needs,” Dr. Kristen said. Hershey, APSU Professor of Nursing. “At the moment, this service is not offered at the clinic.

“And most community mental health services currently have a six-month waiting list,” said Dr. Leslie Binford, assistant professor of nursing at APSU.

Dr. Kristen Hershey and Dr. Leslie Binford.  (APSU)
Dr. Kristen Hershey and Dr. Leslie Binford. (APSU)

This fall, Hershey and Binford, both psychiatric nurse practitioners, will help end that waiting period with a grant they received from the Clarksville Montgomery County Community Health Foundation. They will use this money to integrate a team from the APSU School of Nursing into the existing counseling clinic at Austin Peay State University.

“The Psychological and Counseling Sciences Clinic is already established, so we’re going to join them, really cooperate, to prescribe, prescribe medication for mental health,” Binford said. “All members of the community can access our services at a lower cost and on a scalable scale.”

Office visits will start from just $5.00, and the psychiatric clinic has the option of providing clients with an invoice if they need to submit it to insurance for reimbursement.

In addition to supporting the local community, APSU’s Psychological Science and Counseling Clinic was developed to provide a primary training site for Austin State University’s Doctor of Psychology and Master of Science degree. Peay in counseling programs. Along with this new drug service, the clinic will also provide a training site for another APSU degree program.

“We now have a nurse practitioner course in psychiatry open at the School of Nursing. So we will have students working there as a clinical site,” Hershey said. “We are excited about the collaborative and hands-on learning opportunities for our students, as well as community service and outreach.

For more information about the clinic’s psychiatric services, visit


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