TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) – Uncertainty over the COVID-19 pandemic may take its toll on mental health. The Apalachee Center and Florida State University have teamed up to help bring the mental health needed to better serve the community.
The FSU Behavioral Health at Apalachee Center clinic is the first of its kind in the state and helps provide mental health services to all members of the community.
The center opened last summer amid the pandemic offering virtual mental health care. Health officials say demand was high from the start, especially for psychotherapy services. Now offering both virtual and in-person care, healthcare experts expect the need to continue to grow.
The FSU Behavioral Health at Apalachee Center clinic brings together experts from all of FSU’s medical programs, such as the College of Medicine and the FSU Mood and Anxiety Center for Excellence.
This center is part of the National Network of Depression Centers, a nationally recognized network that provides mental health and mood care based at Johns Hopkins University.
Dr Jay Reeve, president and CEO of the Apalachee Center, says most of the centers in the national network are tucked away in academic institutes, which can make it difficult to reach people in the general public who need care.
“The problem is, you have people who don’t pay, you have people who need help in the community who can’t get to where the help is,” said Dr Reeve. . “So by bringing it out into the community, we made it a lot easier, again for everyone.”
Dr Reeve added that what makes this program so unique is that it allows the public to access the care of FSU experts, while using the resources and funding opportunities available through the Apalachee Center. .
This makes it a sustainable clinic without depending on subsidies. It also allows the center to treat patients regardless of their insurance status.
The center is one of many initiatives recently launched by the Apalachee center, others through partnerships with the city of Tallahassee and emergency response agencies.
These services may be needed more than ever.
The Apalachee Center says it saw a huge increase in calls for service last spring. But another wave of COVID cases and hospitalizations could lead to a further increase in mental health needs.
Dr Reeve says that for those who may experience low levels of anxiety or depression, going through a crisis like the COVID pandemic could make those difficulties worse.
The center says mental health and mood disorders typically worsen after a disaster rather than during it.
Before the Delta variant caused another increase in the number of cases, the center saw an increased need, especially in children.
But as hospitalizations and COVID cases started to increase and the community again faced the immediate impacts of the virus, those calls actually started to drop.
“An emotional response to this was kind of pending,” Dr. Reeve said. “What I expect is that when the peak goes down, that things start to feel maybe less sharp physically, I anticipate another wave.”
Dr Reeve says the best advice for people is to stay informed and have the important conversations about COVID.
He says to seek advice from trusted medical experts, but remember to take a break as it can be easy to get overwhelmed.
It’s also important, he says, to try to keep family routines as normal as possible.
More information on FSU behavioral health at the Apalachee Center can be found on the clinic’s website.
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