SCOTTSBLUFF — If you have a passion for helping others, possess good listening and communication skills, and enjoy interacting with people, a career in the behavioral health field might be for you.

Current and prospective students can explore different career options in the behavioral health field at the Behavioral Health Professions Conference, Wednesday, Oct. 30, at the John N. Harms Center on Western Nebraska Community College’s Scottsbluff Campus. The theme of this year’s conference will be "Anxiety and Phobias." The conference is scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Partially funded by the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN), the purpose of the conference is to expose students to careers in behavioral health, reduce the stigma of mental illness, and provide students with coping skills they can utilize in their own lives.

“We are so excited to offer students an opportunity to interact with instructors and staff here at WNCC and to introduce students to careers within the behavioral health field,” said WNCC human services and psychology instructor Carrie Howton. “This is an excellent opportunity for students interested in behavioral health to learn more about the program, learn from providers in the Panhandle, and see the benefits of entering the industry.”

A hypothetical case study will be presented in the morning. Students will then rotate through four breakout sessions where they will hear from licensed professionals in the field of behavioral health, including a psychiatric nurse practitioner with the University of Nebraska Medical Center, a psychologist trained at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a mental health therapist at Chadron State College, and a drug and alcohol counselor trained in a community college program similar to WNCC’s.

Howton will be present to answer any questions about WNCC’s human services program including the certificate for becoming a drug and alcohol counselor. Admissions and Career Pathways and advising staff with WNCC will also be on hand to assist students. A pizza lunch will be provided and prizes will be drawn throughout the conference.

“Right now, students can apply for a grant through BHECN to pay for the required coursework to get licensed as an alcohol and drug counselor,” Howton said. “If you have thought about doing this kind of work, now is a good time to get started.”

For more information on the conference, or to RSVP, contact Admissions at 308-635-6010 or

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