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New psychiatry residency program coming to Tallahassee to increase access to mental health services

Community partnership expanding mental health care
Posted at 12:25 AM, Dec 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-14 00:25:25-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — A new, first-of-its-kind, psychiatry residency program is coming to Tallahassee.

The program is spearheaded by Florida State University, Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare, and the Apalachee Center.

According to FSU's College of Medicine, nearly one in five people in the country have a mental health condition that affects their daily life. On top of that, there are not enough psychiatrists to meet the growing demand for mental health services.

To address that need, FSU, TMH and the Apalachee Center are working together to create a top-of-the-line program to train the next generation of mental health professionals.

Dr. Alma Littles, the Senior Associate Dean at FSU's College of Medicine, said the new program will cover the gamut in psychiatric training.

"It's adult psychiatry, pediatric psychiatry, forensic psychiatry, addiction medicine," said Dr. Littles. "There's just a tremendous need for more physicians."

FSU and the Apalachee Center both say this new program will help improve access to mental health care in the local community.

Dr. Jay Reeve, President and CEO of the Apalachee Center, said this will be a major key to success in the future.

"To actually have the impact of increasing access pretty much across the board, the cool thing about residency programs not only do they expand the number of prescribers in the area, but these are folks that are getting trained by people at the top of their field, these are folks who generally make their home in the communities in which they are trained," said Reeve.

The three-year program will train four to five mental health care professionals each program cycle.

"They'll be seeing not just people with insurance, people with means, but people who are uninsured, underinsured people with public insurance, so it will really lift all of the boats when it comes to people getting access to care."

FSU is working on getting the residency program together right now. It's set to begin at the Apalachee Center in 2023.