Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Careers

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Give patients the specialized treatment and guidance they need throughout their journey to mental wellness.

Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners play a significant role in the modern health care system. A 2019 study by the American Association of Psychiatric Nurses reported that only 20% of children and adolescents, and 44% of adults, are able to receive the care they need to address their mental health and substance abuse issues. With statistics such as these, the role that psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNPs) play in helping people improve their mental health has never been more critical.

As a PMHNP, you’ll intersect with the roles of psychologists, social workers, and psychiatrists, providing patient care to those with mental and psychiatric health issues, as well as substance abuse issues. PMHNPs also work with the families of their patients and educate communities to decrease the stigma surrounding mental health.

PMHNPs are in demand

The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) reports that as of May 2021, there were 325,000 licensed nurse practitioners in the U.S., however only an estimated 4.7% of NPs are educated and certified as PMHNPs. With a rising need for mental health services throughout the pandemic due to loneliness and isolation,  the number of licensed psychiatrists declining over the years, and more citizens enrolling for universal health care services, professionals who specialize in mental health needs — such as psychiatric nurse practitioners — will continue to be in high demand.

Average PMHNP Salary: $111,660*


PMHNP responsibilities include:

  • Diagnose and treat common acute psychiatric problems, illnesses, and crises
  • Psychopharmacologic management in collaboration with psychiatrist
  • Provide individual, group, and family psychotherapy
  • Coordinate and integrate multidisciplinary services for clients with complex psychiatric problems
  • Monitor common health care problems and refer for specialized medical treatment as needed
  • Work with clients and their families in anticipation of developmental milestones, life cycle events
  • Perform or recommend age-appropriate screening procedures
  • Promote wellness-oriented self-care

Common practice settings include:

  • Behavioral health/addictions clinics
  • Psychiatric mental health facilities
  • Private NP practices
  • Hospitals
  • Universities
  • Assisted living facilities
  • Recovery services
  • Military care
  • Telemedicine services
  • Public health facilities

Did You Know?*

  • On average, full-time NPs certified in psychiatric mental health reported that they see approximately 15 patients per day.
  • The top clinical focus areas for PMHNPs are psychiatry/psychology and behavioral health/addiction.
  • The top practice settings for NPs certified in psychiatric mental health are behavioral health/addictions clinics, psychiatric mental health facilities and private NP practices.


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