Clarksville, TN – A few years ago, the Austin Peay State University College of Behavioral and Health Sciences addressed an important mental health crisis within the local community.
According to a report on mental health in America, Tennessee ranked 45th in the nation for providing access to mental health care, so the college opened the Psychological Science and Counseling Clinic in the former Wesley Foundation Building at 510 College Street.
“You can go (to the APSU clinic) for counseling, and the counselors often refer you to psychiatrists or psychiatric nurse practitioners if you require medication to support your mental health needs,” Dr. Kristen Hershey, APSU professor of nursing, said. “Right now, that service isn’t offered at the clinic.”
“And most community mental health right now has a six-month wait list,” Dr. Leslie Binford, APSU assistant professor of nursing, said.
This fall, Hershey and Binford, both psychiatric nurse practitioners, will help make that waiting period go away thanks to a grant they received from Clarksville Montgomery County Community Health Foundation. They’ll use that money to embed an APSU School of Nursing team in Austin Peay State University’s existing counseling clinic.
“The Psychological Science and Counseling Clinic is already established, so we are going to be joining them, cooperating really, to do prescribing, medication prescribing for mental health,” Binford said. “Anyone in the community can access our services on a low-cost, sliding scale.”
Office visits will start as low as $5.00, and the psychiatric clinic has the option to provide clients with a bill if they need to submit it to insurance for reimbursement.
In addition to supporting the local community, the APSU Psychological Science and Counseling Clinic was developed to provide a primary training site for Austin Peay State University’s Doctor of Psychology and Master of Science in counseling programs. With this new medication service, the clinic also will provide a training site for another APSU degree program.
“We have a psychiatric nurse practitioner track now open in the School of Nursing. So, we will have students working there as a clinical site,” Hershey said. “We’re very excited about the opportunities for collaborative, hands-on learning for our students, as well as community service and outreach.
For information on the clinic’s psychiatric services, visit www.apsu.edu/medication-management-clinic/.