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Rates of diagnosis for depression are rising, and those with depression are more likely to suffer from chronic physical health conditions.

USA TODAY

A new center for the treatment of anxiety and depression that aims to bridge the gap between science and practice opens Wednesday.

In an effort to bring the latest research to help patients, the center’s practitioners will be both faculty and clinicians in training from various Florida State University colleges.

The clinic off Lee Avenue, called FSU BehavioralHealth at Apalachee Center, is launched by FSU’s College of Medicine (COM) and the Apalachee Center.

The outpatient treatment center is slated to offer therapy, medication management and diagnostic assessments for adults and children ages 6 and older — whether they’re insured, have Medicaid or don’t have insurance.

The idea was born out of needs FSU professor Heather Flynn and the Apalachee Center’s director Jay Reeve have been hearing from Tallahassee residents. 

“We’re not trying to duplicate services. We’re trying to fill gaps,” Flynn said. “There doesn’t seem to be one center that really focuses on the most common mental health disorders — depression and anxiety, provides counseling and medication management.”

On top of that, as well as a local shortage of psychiatrists and long wait lists, many therapists in town either accept certain insurances or don’t take insurance at all.

“It’s difficult to find a center that will take all comers,” said Flynn, a clinical psychologist who serves as FSU COM’s vice chair in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Social Medicine.

FSU BehavioralHealth at Apalachee Center is launching to help address those needs.

“Folks have been asking for this,” Reeve said. “There’s a lot of expressed need for this service.”

Bridging the ‘science-to-practice’ gap

It can take years for evidence-based treatment methods to be implemented by clinicians and benefit the people who need them. This is what academics call the “science-to-practice gap,” explains Reeve, a clinical psychologist.

“That issue is actually more apparent in behavioral health than anywhere else,” he said. 

In other cities with universities, community members can access health care focused on the latest research because of hospital-university affiliations.

Instead, Tallahassee’s FSU COM has slowly been opening various clinics whose practitioners are faculty and trainees. These include the FSU PrimaryHealth clinic and another focused on senior care. FSU BehavioralHealth at Apalachee Center joins that list.

The new mental health center is also affiliated with a nationwide network, the National Network of Depression Centers, which aims to inform patient care based on collaborations by researchers and clinicians.

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