BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Now less than a month away from the one year anniversary of Hurricane Michael, mental health professionals are staying busy.
The Florida Therapy Services is just one office that’s been helping survivors heal from the devastation.
Drew Hild is the Quality Assurance Director for the office and says they served thousands before the storm, and continue to do so.
“Psychiatric services. Behavioral health services. There is a shrinking stigma associated with this. We believe in the medical module. We believe that if you’re suffering with depression, it’s the same thing as if you’re suffering from hypertension,” Hild said.
Hild says a lot of their pre-storm patients are returning to their offices but the needs are amplified.
“When you expose them to a significant event, like this storm, like the loss of their support system, then those folks who were getting along normally. Now that that stressor is introduced, they’re more likely to be depressed or be anxious or engage in suicidal behavior,” Hild said.
The office is also finding new ways to reach their clients, implementing telemedicine programs.
“Our patients, if they have wifi or a good data connection, they can beam their therapy appointments. They can beam into an office or into the therapists home and do therapy that way,” Hild said.
He says as October 10 approaches, it’s crucial they’re available to their patients at any time.
“Every time something stirs up in the Gulf, or like Hurricane Dorian that just came through, the anxiety that’s normal is amplified by what happened last year,” Hild said.
Most importantly, he says the best way for people to heal is to ask for help.
“Folks are starting to understand, if you have depression, if you have ADHD, if you have schizophrenia or if you have bipolar disorder, it’s not something that should be hidden, it should be something that’s addressed. It’s okay to be anxious. It’s okay to feel depressed. It’s okay to talk to us,” Hild said.
The offices also celebrated 25 years in the community on Friday.
Owners, Teri and Rollin Cable invited their employees as well as other mental health professionals to a brief event, featuring refreshments and a ribbon-cutting.
Teri Rollin says the years have gone by extremely fast but they feel blessed to be in the community.
Florida Therapy Services serves 18 counties in the panhandle.
See how they celebrated in the video below.
To learn more about them, click here.
To see all types of resources in our area, click here.