CITY LANDMARKS, SUNSHINE SKYWAY BRIDGE TO ILLUMINATE GREEN IN SHOW OF SUPPORT
Tampa, Fla. (April 28, 2023) – Tampa Bay Thrives will kick off Mental Health Awareness Month beginning May 1 by unveiling an awareness campaign featuring residents across the region who are sharing their stories of mental health. The campaign is called “If you know, you know” (IYKYK), building upon the social media hashtag that speaks to those that have shared or lived experience.
Whether they have struggled with mental health or are in a support role, these personal stories of inspiration are aimed at destigmatizing the conversations around mental health and getting help.
“Our mental well-being touches all aspects of our lives, from our homes to our schools, to our workplaces and interpersonal relationships,” said Carrie Zeisse, president and CEO of Tampa Bay Thrives. “We want to share inspiring stories of those that have, and continue to, utilize a portfolio of approaches to manage their mental health and encourage others to share broadly. Research shows that one of the most effective ways to encourage another to start on this journey is by holding out a real-life example of personal triumph.”
To show its support, the City of Tampa will illuminate city bridges and landmarks in green, the official color of mental health awareness, from May 1-8. Hillsborough, Manatee, and Pinellas County governments all recently passed resolutions to light up the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in green from May 21-28.
“The City of Tampa and I are proud to stand in solidarity with Tampa Bay Thrives and other community organizations to show support for mental health awareness and the #IYKYK campaign,” Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said. “Partnerships are vital to help destigmatize mental health conversations, and we’re starting those conversations by lighting up our City landmarks and bridges in green.”
Thrives will launch a video featuring the stories of four Tampa Bay area residents who share the struggles that led them to slip into various stages of depression. And they talk about seeking therapy, receiving support from loved ones, and finding outlets that lifted them from darkness.
A new website shares resources and highlights additional stories from across four counties. The stories tackle anxiety, depression, and suicide. They all end with hope.
“The uncertainty and residual stress that has impacted our community over the last three years has put pressure on our collective mental health,” Zeisse said. “Mental health is health. We need to talk about it without judgement.”
A survey commissioned by Tampa Bay Thrives in 2022 found that in Tampa Bay, 7 in 10 residents experienced at least one poor mental health day in a one-month period. Ten percent of respondents reported missing work, corresponding to 393,400 missed workdays a month and approximately 4.72 million missed workdays per year across the region.
This baseline of the community’s perceptions, practices, and experiences related to mental health in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, and Polk counties showed not only the need for mental health services, but the stigma attached to it.
Tampa Bay Thrives offers confidential support for mental health that is free through its Let’s Talk line. The support line provides the first step in helping callers figure out what support they might need for their mental health. This service includes several additional options to connect directly to help, such as:
- short-term telehealth bridge counseling for individuals facing long wait times to get into their first appointment. This service is provided by the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay and University of South Florida’s Department of Psychiatry.
- an appointment at one of 10 local AdventHealth Express Care at Walgreens locations where a staff member will assess needs and provide referral to a telehealth counselor for additional support
- a referral to a licensed counselor at Tampa General’s Urgent Care powered by Fast Track on Water Street in Tampa to help navigate next steps
- a connection to a licensed clinical social worker at Northside Behavioral Health Center who will provide in-person help to pave the path to feeling better
All of these options are available by calling Let’s Talk at 844-YOU-OKAY.
Additionally, Tampa Bay Thrives is a proud affiliate of Mental Health America and offers a free online screening tool for a quick and easy way to determine whether you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition. You may take the Mental Health Test here.
About Tampa Bay Thrives
Tampa Bay Thrives is a nonprofit and Mental Health America affiliate, first formed in 2019, with the mission to mobilize the community to strengthen behavioral health outcomes for depression, anxiety, and substance use disorder, with a focus on improving early intervention, access and awareness. To learn more, visit www.tampabaythrives.org.