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Planned Parenthood Florida Expands Mental Health Counseling Due To Increased Demand

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Courtesy: Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA)
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A program by Planned Parenthood of South, East and North Florida (PPSENFL) is offering virtual mental health counseling sessions for people struggling because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Launched a few months ago, its telehealth program has recently added more therapists to meet growing demands for appointments, said Karen Peters, behavioral health program director for PPSENFL.

She said the program is more important now than ever because of a growing number of people struggling with the prospect of returning to normal after months of isolation.

“We have students that are struggling with social anxiety with the prospect of going back to school or going back to activities, into, you know, quote. unquote 'normalcy.'” she said.  

The program’s expansion comes as mental health care resources have been tested nationwide. The percentage of adults with recent symptoms of an anxiety or depressive disorder increased from 36.4% to 41.5% in the U.S. from Aug. 2020 to Feb. 2021, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The percent of people with unmet mental health care needs also increased from 9.2% to 11.7%.

Therapists working in the program are trained to help people dealing with stress, anxiety, depression, intimate partner violence, family relationships, and gender identity, Peters said. Any Florida resident over the age of 13 can receive therapy through the program, but minors need consent from a parent or guardian.

Appointments can be made by calling 561-472-9991. Therapy is available in English and Spanish. It costs $30 for 30-minute sessions and $50 for one hour, but the program takes the following insurance plans:

  • Aetna
  • Ambetter
  • Bright Health
  • Bright Health Super Plan
  • Florida Blue
  • Optum
  • United Healthcare
  • Sunshine Health

Tristan is WJCT’s 2021 Summer Reporting Intern. He has previously worked as the City and County Commission reporter for the Independent Florida Alligator, Gainesville’s student-run newspaper, and Fresh Take Florida, a news service working in partnership with the Associated Press to cover the Florida Legislature and select political news stories across the state.