Tampa shines light on Mental Health

Tampa shines light on Mental Health

CITY OF TAMPA TO LIGHT UP IN GREEN FOR MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH

Teens nationwide and in Tampa are facing a mental health crisis; in Hillsborough County, the prevalence of mental illness is the 3rd highest in the nation; yet an overwhelming majority of residents report that navigating to behavioral health support can be challenging. 

In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month in May, the city of Tampa is partnering with Tampa Bay Thrives to light up city buildings in green on May 8, 2022. These buildings/structures/bridges will illuminate from sundown to sunup:

  • Brorein Street Bridge
  • Kennedy Boulevard Bridge
  • Fortune Street Bridge
  • Platt Street Bridge
  • Old City Hall
  • Curtis Hixon Palm Trees & Louver Fountain
  • Riverwalk
  • Old City Hall

“Tampa will become a city of green to help start conversations around an issue that affects a majority of residents across our city in one way or another, and this includes our first responders on the front lines,” said Tampa Mayor Jane Castor. “Our fire fighters and police officers face stresses on a daily basis that erode their mental health. We are excited to work with Tampa Bay Thrives to not only illuminate a need for solutions to this crisis, but to strengthen behavioral outcomes and improve access to services.”

The need to highlight mental health is more critical than ever, said Tampa Bay Thrives CEO Carrie Zeisse. Tampa Bay Thrives is a nonprofit coalition of community leaders who care about mental health – public safety, hospitals, insurers, providers, schools, and employers – who banded together to tackle the mental health crisis across Tampa Bay.

“We are experiencing a whole new pandemic—this one surrounding mental health,” Zeisse said. “Thank you to Tampa Mayor Jane Castor for ‘shining light’ on this crisis by lighting up the buildings green. By speaking openly about our mental health, we are one step closer to destigmatizing the need to get help and saying, ‘it’s okay to not be okay.’”

According to Mental Health America, Hillsborough County is the:

  • 3rd highest in the nation for prevalence of mental illness, 12th highest for serious mental illness
  • 2nd in the nation for suicidal ideation 
  • Between 2019 and end of 2021 in Hillsborough County: 
    • 664% increase in people seeking screens for anxiety, and 472% increase for depression (followed by bipolar screens) 
    • 661% increase in severity (positive, or moderate to severe) 
    • largest rising demographic is teenagers and young adults (up to 34) – 83% of the screens

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. 

About Tampa Bay Thrives 

Tampa Bay Thrives is a nonprofit, 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.