A new mental health clinic has opened in Starkville, allowing for residents of the Golden Triangle area and students of Mississippi State University to receive proper outpatient treatment for a variety of common mental health illnesses, such as depression and anxiety.
Right Track Medical Group, which opened a Starkville office on Sept. 20, is now letting patients from Starkville and the surrounding counties call in or walk into the facility to make an appointment for several available services including psychiatric assessment, medication management and therapy.
Along with offering mental health-based resources in Starkville, Right Track Medical Group also provides individuals and families with outpatient mental-health services in North Mississippi, including Tupelo, Corinth, Olive Branch and Oxford.
Dr. Stephen Pannel, psychiatrist and Chief Medical Officer of Right Track Medical Group, said the goal of the clinic is to provide quality mental health care where it might not be otherwise attainable.
“In Mississippi, access to outpatient mental health care is limited. Our goal is to help by providing easy access to comprehensive mental-health services,” Pannel stated in a press release from Right Track Medical Group.
According to the same press release, the clinic is focused on outpatient-based care to assess several disorders among adults, adolescents and children, including anxiety, depression, PTSD, OCD and other common illnesses. The options for assessing treatment can include a psychiatric evaluation to identify mental health needs, optional medication management for the patient and individual and family therapy, which are divided into several sessions that include talk therapy. Coping skills groups are also available, which focus on building skills to manage certain aspects of daily life, such as stress.
Sallie Dalton, an advanced psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner who works at the clinic, said Right Track Medical Group in Starkville is focused on providing a personal relationship with their patients and listening to them in order to provide them with the adequate treatment needed.
“For the patients, I want them to be able to live their most successful lives … the goal is for their symptoms to reduce or completely resolve and then to hopefully prevent relapse,” Dalton said.
Right Track Medical Group is also available to take in patients who are students of MSU, as well as a significant population in the city of Starkville, to better allow them accessible mental healthcare that can provide them with a safe place to vent their struggles and personal issues with a line of staff dedicated to serving their clients.
Dalton said the mental illness rate among university students is increasing.
“According to a research study done by National Association of Mental Illness, 450,000 college students were surveyed and the depression and anxiety mental illness rate among these college students actually increased 6%. None of the statistics usually say that it’s getting better, especially here in Mississippi.”
Dalton also said the clinic will serve patients from ages six and up, and is looking to serve nontraditional students, particularly those who are of older age than most college students, as well as faculty of the university.
This new clinic is geared to help students in all classifications, whether they are looking for a one-time behavioral therapy session, or are looking for a personalized treatment plan for their mental health needs.
Alana Buchanan, an MSU sophomore studying biochemistry and the secretary of the mental health awareness club Active Minds, said she is excited that students will have an option for additional help outside of MSU's Student Counseling Services.
“I think it’s wonderful that we have more resources for students and other individuals in the area who may need a little more resources. The campus counseling center is absolutely wonderful, but I am also very excited that if someone needs a little more than what the counseling center can offer I’m very pleased that the option is there,” Buchanan said.
According to Dalton, Right Track Medical Group also hopes to bridge the gap between traditionally low mental health services in Mississippi and providing high quality mental-health services. It is a goal Right Track Medical Group hopes can be achieved by their open communication lines through staff and readiness to respond to any clients’ needs.
For those interested in finding out more information about the clinic, there will be an open house Oct. 15. This is an event where anyone can visit the clinic, have a chance to meet the staff members and access more information about the types of outpatient resources the facility provides.