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Through a partnership with AdventHealth, BayCare, Tampa General Hospital, Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, and USF Health; and supported by the Hillsborough County Commission, Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, and Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation, Tampa Bay Thrives announces new access points for individuals seeking short-term appointments for their mental health. 

The Let’s Talk line, which launched last year, provides the first step in helping callers figure out what support they might need for their mental health. This new extension to service now has several additional options to connect directly to help. This includes:  

  • 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. It’s confidential support for mental health that is free and available 24/7.

“The process of finding help and waiting for your first appointment can be an overwhelming process,” said Carrie Zeisse, president & CEO of Tampa Bay Thrives. “We are grateful for the vision and commitment of our community leaders who have come together to add additional access points for mental health support.”

According to Mental Health America,

  • Florida ranks 49th in the country in terms of access to mental health services
  • Roughly 64% of Floridian adults with mental illness, over 1.8 million people in total, are going untreated, an estimated 54% of whom are covered by insurance.

Data between 2019 and the end of 2021 in Hillsborough County shows:

  • 664% increase in people seeking screens for anxiety, and 472% increase for depression (followed by bipolar screens)
  • 661% increase in severity measured by those who screened positive for a bipolar screen or moderate-to-severe in screens for depression and anxiety
  • Teenagers and young adults (up to 34) account for 83% of the screens, indicating an increasing mental health crisis in our younger population.

Tampa Bay Thrives survey data found that:

  • Most patients and caregivers report that navigating to BH supports is difficult in the Tampa Bay region
  • 66% of respondents with BH needs rate navigating BH resources to be challenging
  • 77% of caregivers rate navigating BH resources to be challenging
  • 70% indicated it was very challenging to find resources or get a referral for their mental health condition or substance use disorder.
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