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For those already in crisis, the holidays bring even more stress

Vice President of TMH Behavioral Health Center Operations Heather Lincicome
Tom Flanigan
Vice President of TMH Behavioral Health Center Operations Heather Lincicome

2022 has been a busy one for the area's mental health professionals. Just ask Heather Lincicome, vice president of Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare's Behavioral Mental Health Operations.

"We've seen close to a 15% increase in psychiatric hospitalizations and that spans across the scope of children to adults," she said.

Lincicome suspects the increase is linked to a host of factors, including the stresses engendered by the pandemic, economic uncertainties, political conflicts and any number of other factors. And now the holidays are here, which are recognized as a time of crisis for many people, with a higher incidence of depression, substance abuse and suicidal ideation. For anyone seeking help, Lincicome said TMH has a dedicated facility.

"We have a walk-in clinic, open Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. called Direct Admissions. Anyone from the community can walk in. We're located at the TMH Behavioral Health Center and they can talk with a mental health professional, seek an evaluation and talk about symptoms and the best course of treatment."

Of course, not every crisis happens on weekdays between 8 and 5. So Lincicome says a special team is on hand around the clock.

"We have a Behavioral Emergency Services Team we call our 'BEST' team. It's a one-of-a-kind program where we provide psychiatric services at all levels of care. So for those who are experiencing emergencies outside of the normal 8 to 5 Monday through Friday hours, they can come to our Emergency Department and be seen by a psychiatric provider, evaluated and discuss the most appropriate course of treatment."

A potential lifesaver for those whose life difficulties have become intolerable.

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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