TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — In Leon County, more access to mental and behavioral health is a must and with the added impact of COVID-19, that need is growing.
The Apalachee Center and Florida State University College of Medicine are teaming up to bring a new clinic to town.
The FSU Behavioral Health at Apalachee Center will focus on mood and anxiety issues for people 6-years-old and up.
As the entire community works through changes caused by the coronavirus, the new clinic is opening up just in time.
"With everything that's been going on, obviously it's affected all of us," said Sabry White. "One day I'm going to college and the next day I'm sitting at home not seeing anyone. It's been hard."
With no end in sight, many people now feeling more isolation and anxiety because of COVID-19.
Research by the Mental Health Council of the Big Bend found struggles of anxiety and depression before the pandemic.
"One of the things we found was that the levels of anxiety were higher in Leon County than most places in the country," said Jay Reeves, the president and CEO of the Apalachee Center.
The new partnership is doing more to help people get treatment.
"We want to make sure that we've opened every door that we can, every avenue that we can to make sure that anyone who wants treatment can get it," Reeves said.
To reach more people, the center will even accept people without health insurance.
"I really consider it almost a desert here as far as people with limited means to get access to mental health services," said John Fogarty, the dean of FSU’s College of Medicine.
FSU Behavioral Health at Apalachee Center will also provide a newer approach to medicine driven by research done in-house.
"Research that's helpful to different therapeutic practices, behavioral health techniques usually takes decades for that to get out into the community because it's done somewhere else," Reeves said. "This is done here."
It's a move that community members are welcoming, bringing more help during trying times.
"Who would've thought we would all be shut up in our homes," said White. "For sure I could see. I've had moments myself where I felt like I needed someone to talk to."
The clinic opens up inside the Whole Child Leon Building on Wednesday.
They're also offering telehealth.