Sonoran University Announces New School of Mental Health and Clinical Mental Health Counseling Degree

Master’s Degree Aims to Meet the Urgent Need for Licensed Practitioners

January 29, 2024

Tempe, Ariz. Sonoran University of Health Sciences is excited to announce it has established a School of Mental Health to house an innovative new Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree program. The program will welcome its first class in October 2024 and serves to meet the urgent need for licensed mental health practitioners locally and nationwide.

“The US is facing a mental health crisis and Arizona is ranked among the states suffering the most with both a high prevalence of mental illness and low access to care,” said Dr. Gena E. Kadar, Dean of Sonoran University’s College of Nutrition and the new School of Mental Health. “We strive to become an agent of change by launching this program and training mental health professionals at the highest level so they’re ready to help Arizonans and all Americans struggling with mental health disorders.”

To increase access for students nationwide, the program has been designed for working adults, will be fully online, and can be completed in as little as two and a half years. Additionally, the program incorporates best practices in supporting adult learners, a unique Virtual Health Center Experience clinical simulation, and will differentiate graduates with training in specialized areas such as:

  • field-based crisis care, so they can work alongside law enforcement and other first responders to de-escalate mental health emergencies.
  • evidence-based integrative mental health care (e.g., nutrition, mindfulness) to empower clients, reduce costs, and enhance outcomes.
  • interprofessional collaboration, so they are prepared to work effectively as part of a healthcare team.

Further, to support students’ internship requirements and remove barriers to accessing mental health services for the community, no-cost clinical mental health counseling will be available to Arizonans, and most states nationwide, by leveraging Sonoran University’s Virtual Center for Personalized Health Care.

Sonoran University of Health Sciences (formerly Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine & Health Sciences) has a rich history of preparing graduates for success as healthcare leaders and practitioners.  Since its inception, the university has been an innovator in the field of integrative healthcare education and practice and strives to advance the profession of, and opportunities for, every graduate.

For more information on Sonoran University and the new program, please visit www.


About Sonoran University of Health Sciences

Formerly known as Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, Sonoran University shapes a healthier future through the healing power of nature. The University has three pillars: education, community engagement, and research. Sonoran University of Health Sciences shapes a healthier future by supporting students as they train to excel as healthcare professionals, by enhancing the health and well-being of our patients and communities, and by discovering effective treatments for humanity grounded in the healing power of nature.