NewsPolk County


Behavioral health center expands services to address growing need in Polk County

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Posted at 5:58 PM, Jun 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-03 18:14:06-04

LAKE WALES, Fla. — Behavioral health is the number one health concern in Polk County, according to the 2020 Community Health Assessment.

“The mental health services are under-served in this area,” said Ileana Kniss, the Peace River Center Director of Development and Community Relations.

Peace River Center, a nonprofit behavioral health organization, is helping address the lack of mental health providers in the county.

The center has opened a new outpatient behavioral health location in Lake Wales at 815 State Road 60 E. They said they’ve seen more than 50 new clients since opening in March.

“COVID has brought some awareness to individuals who had not experienced some emotional distress and because of the situation, the trauma that we’ve all experienced through COVID, some of these symptoms are rising,” Kniss said.

The center is accepting new patients for disorders including depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, ADHD and child behavioral disorders. PRC’s broad range of services also helps individuals with co-occurring mental health and addiction disorders as well as mental illness recovery services. Services can be accessed by calling 863-978-4800.

PRC said there’s been an uptick in pediatric clients.

“Children psychiatric services has seen a heightened need for anxiety or those sort of symptoms, anxiety and depression,” Kniss said.

Peace River Center is also opening a new mental illness recovery program in Haines City on July 5. The program will allow members to work on completing education, employment and housing goals.

To become a member individuals must have a mental health diagnosis and complete an intake process. To become a member call 863-519-0874.