COPE Program Founder/Creator

Bernadette Melnyk , PhD, RN, CPNP/PMHNP, FAAN

Bernadette Melnyk, PhD, RN, CPNP/PMHNP, FAAN

Meet Bernadette Mazurek Melnyk, PhD, RN, CPNP/PMHNP, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN

Creator of COPE

For Bern Melnyk, the COPE Program is the realization of a lifelong dream to get young people the type of help that was unavailable to her during her own difficult teenage years. When Bern was 15, her mother died suddenly right in front of her. The Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that followed lasted a couple of years and went untreated since, at that time, and in rural Pennsylvania where Bern grew up, PTSD wasn't really recognized or talked about much.

Bern is a nationally/internationally recognized author, practitioner, researcher and expert in child and adolescent health, evidence-based practice and intervention research. She has over 280 publications, including a book entitled A Practical Guide to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Screening, Early Intervention, and Health Promotion (2nd edition) (2013). New York, NY: NAPNAP.

For Bern, caring for others was the start of her recovery. She graduated from nursing school at West Virginia University, and started practicing at the pediatric intensive care unit at Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh. She holds a Master's Degree with a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP) specialty from the University of Pittsburgh, and completed her PhD and a post-master's certificate as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner at the University of Rochester. 

Bern's ultimate goal is to get COPE into the hands of every child and teen who suffers from stress, depression, anxiety or another mental health disorder that keeps them from living a happy, healthy, full life as well as all youth in order to prevent mental health problems and enhance healthy lifestyle behaviors.

Bern was recently recognized as an Edge Runner by the American Academy of Nursing for her evidence-based programs that decrease depression/anxiety and improve healthy lifestyle behaviors in children, teens and college students.