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