UCF Nursing Grad Offers Accessible Mental Health Services
Since graduating from UCF, Harry Carroll ’07 ’17 has worked as a firefighter, paramedic and emergency room trauma nurse. In March, he opened a psychiatry practice in Brevard County, where he lives with his wife Melissa and daughter Claire.
We spoke with Carroll about his time at UCF, his journey from firefighting to nursing, and how he hopes to make mental health services more accessible through his practice Suntree Psychiatry.
What did you enjoy most about UCF?
I enjoyed the community and how tight-knit the college felt, and I’ve loved watching the university blossom into what it is now. It’s grown so much; it’s amazing. There’s a medical school now, and UCF is always working on something. There’s so much opportunity for any avenue you want to go into. It seems like they offer something for everyone.
I went to UCF originally for a political science degree, and then I went back for nursing. I’ve gone to other schools, but I’ve been at UCF twice and I was first a Knight, so I have a deeper connection there.
How did you become interested in nursing?
I kind of fell into the path. When I went to UCF right after high school, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do yet. I graduated with a political science degree and asked my dad, “What should I do now?” He said, “Become a firefighter. They have a great schedule; they have benefits and pensions.”
I went to the fire academy and became a firefighter, which exposed me to medicine. I had never thought about medicine before that. But I had to be a paramedic on the ambulance too, and I found that I liked it a lot. I finally had something I was interested in.
I did a paramedic to nurse program at a local community college, then I went back to UCF and did the bachelor’s in nursing there. I did a nurse practitioner program at South University after that, and I went to FSU for the psychiatry program for nurse practitioners.
Why did you decide to open a psychiatry practice?
I saw a lot of mental health issues and trauma as a first responder and in the ER. I knew there was a tremendous need that’s just increasing every day. I also saw a lot of firefighters, military, police, nurses…people who had experienced this firsthand and had secondary effects.
There’s often a long wait for mental health services, and Florida is constantly growing. So, I decided to open a practice that was more accessible to people.
How do you make mental health services more accessible through your practice?
Telehealth is a great way to make services more accessible. I see people in person in Brevard County, and then I see people virtually through the whole state of Florida. It’s easy to request a consultation on my website. I can see people pretty fast, either remotely or in person, and I take several forms of insurance.
I also make myself available to people with crazy schedules, because I always worked either weird hours as a firefighter or worked the night shift in the emergency department. It would be hard to go to the dentist or make any kind of appointment. So, I’ll see people until midnight, and sometimes on weekends.