Demand for Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (Psych NPs) in Virginia

The demand for behavioral health services skyrocketed in recent years in Virginia – and the nation – and shows no signs of subsiding.

Behavioral health professionals across the Commonwealth are overwhelmed. Virginians are going months before an appointment is available. And, the need for services is expected to continue to outpace the workforce in the coming decade.



“We are in dire need of psychiatric mental health providers in the Harrisonburg-Rockingham area, where I live and work.”

-Erin Morris, RN, FNP-BC, PMHNP-BC
Harrisonburg-Rockingham Community Services Board
VHCF Psych NP Scholarship Recipient



All Virginia localities are now federally-designated Mental Health Professional Shortage Areas (MHPAs).

  • Virginia ranks 39th for behavioral health workforce availability (Mental Health America, 2023) and 35 states have more behavioral health providers/100,000 than Virginia (America’s Health Rankings).
  • About 40% of Virginia localities have no psychiatrist or Psych NP. Moreover, 35 localities are without a “prescriber” at all and an additional 25 have only one.
  • Many “prescribers” – Psychiatrists and Psych NPs trained and licensed to prescribe and manage psychotropic medicines, critical to treat many mental health conditions – are near retirement age. The double-whammy of prescribers’ age and distribution in the Commonwealth is particularly troubling when thinking about the future.

Distribution of Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioners in Virginia

Work as a Psych NP

Psych NPs are in great demand. There are job opportunities all across the state in a wide range of settings (behavioral health practices, outpatient medical practices, university counseling centers, hospitals, Veterans’ Affairs facilities, substance abuse programs, public mental health agencies, residential treatment programs).

  • The average salary for Psych NP in Virginia is $146,103 (, January 2023).

VCHF Psych NP Scholarships Can Help!

The Virginia Health Care Foundation provides scholarships for NPs interested in obtaining a post-Master’s Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (Psych NP) Certificate. For scholarship information, click here.

Interested? Questions?  Email VHCF’s Program Manager:

Last Updated on February 1, 2024