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New survey offers insight into state of region’s mental health

Across Tampa Bay, 7 in 10 residents experienced at least one poor mental health day in a recent month, a survey commissioned by Tampa Bay Thrives found. 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.

Stigma is often deeply embedded in communities and cultures. Survey analysis demonstrates Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino residents are more likely to think “other people” will see mental health as a sign of weakness, personal failure or will think less of someone.

“The uncertainty and residual stress that has impacted our community over the last three years has put pressure on our collective mental health,” said Carrie Zeisse, president & CEO of Tampa Bay Thrives. “Our mental well-being touches all aspects of our lives, from our homes to our schools, workplaces and interpersonal relationships. We want people to know that there is help and there is hope. You are not alone.”

Other findings from the April 2022 survey include:

  • The most common side effect of poor mental health was the inability to sleep through the night.
  • When asked if a person has, in the last 12 months, needed help for emotional or mental health problems or challenges such as feeling sad, low, anxious, or nervous, 46% responded “yes.”
  • Despite having insurance, the majority of respondents cited cost as the main reason they do not seek help.
  • 35% of respondents indicated they currently need help to address their mental health needs. Yet individuals “at-risk,” those with children, and Polk County residents, were the most likely to report they did not receive the mental healthcare they needed.  

Tampa Bay Thrives offers confidential support for mental health that is free and available 24/7 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.

View the report here.