Capital Regional creates new programs for adolescent mental health and adult substances abuse

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By: Monica Casey | WCTV Eyewitness News
May 20, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Capital Regional's Behavioral Health Center has introduced two new intensive outpatient programs, focused on adolescent mental health and adult substance abuse.

According to Capital Regional, one out of every four Americans experiences either a diagnosable mental illness, or struggles with substance abuse, every year.

The Adolescent Intensive Outpatient Program and the Adult Substance Abuse Intensive Outpatient Program are both group therapy based.

Although the programs have been in the planning process for awhile, leaders say the COVID-19 pandemic is the perfect time to offer extra support to the community. Both programs launched about three weeks ago.

Program organizers say the stigma against mental health struggles can be one of the biggest hurdles to treatment, and that there is not enough treatment available in Tallahassee and Leon County.

"I hear frequently the need for adolescent and substance abuse services," said Kelli Mercer, the Outreach Director for Behavioral Health. "Particularly for adolescents, it's very difficult to find treatment for them here locally, and so we wanted to bring that resource here to our community."

"If we can help by reducing that stigma and providing treatment at the same time, we see that as a nice opportunity," said Dr. Jeffrey Ferraro, the Medical Director of Behavioral Health Services at Capital Regional Medical Center.

The Adolescent program is available to people ages 13 to 17; they work on coping skills, and different therapies assisting those with depression, anxiety, and other disorders.

Therapies offered in that program include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Co-Occurring Diagnosis Therapy, Art/Music Therapy, Educational Group Therapy, Medication Management, and Family Systems Therapy.

The issues treated in the adolescent program include Psychiatric Disorders/ Co-Occurring Disorders, Crisis Situations, Depression and/or Anxiety, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Grief/Loss Issues, Relational Conflict, Mood Swings, Inability to Sleep, Trouble Focusing or Completing Tasks, and Difficulties at Work/School.

The adult substance abuse program is available to people 18 and over.

The treatment can be a positive step for those leaving the hospital, or a way to avoid hospitalization.