Mind your mind: An initiative to aid the mental health of Southwest Florida

Reporter: Taylor Wirtz Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:
(Credit: WINK News)

There is a new push in Southwest Florida to help people put their mental health first. It is part of the David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health initiative called “mind your mind.”

It’s no secret that mental health across the country has plummeted during the pandemic, but as we enter year three, experts say in Florida alone, demand is far beyond anything they’ve ever seen.

The Director of Development for the David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health, Emily Budd-Schepperly, said, “These are unprecedented numbers we have continuously, over the last several years, seen an increase but never numbers at this rate. We have a 30-bed unit. On some days, we’ve seen up to 56 children and adults on that unit.”

The David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health’s mind your mind initiative is a month-by-month approach that encourages mental wellness in the community through emails, classes, and discussions.

“We recognize that in light of the pandemic, the topic of mental health is relevant to everyone. We’ve all seen significant impacts. And so this is our way of pushing out free community resources to help our community connect to services, awareness, education, and treatment,” said Budd-Schepperly.

While no state is immune to the mental health crisis, the situation in Florida is especially dire.

Budd-Schepperly said, “Florida is 50th out of 50 when it comes to funding per capita for mental health. And we see in our community the need for support is also relevant.”

If the state won’t help, the David Lawrence Centers says it is up to us to start these conversations ourselves, whether at home, in the workplace, or anywhere else.

“The mind your mind campaign is not only inviting you to prioritize your mental well being but inviting you to prioritize the well being of our community, whether that’s your family member or your neighbor, it’s a way for you to understand what warning signs or symptoms may look like, and hopefully get those who may need treatment into treatment services and programs,” said Budd-Schepperly.

While there’s no quick fix, Budd-Schepperly said that stirring up these conversations is a step in the right direction because no matter how healthy your body is, you’re nothing without your mind.

The mind your mind campaign will address twelve topics this year, one for each month. January is dedicated to community wellbeing and February will focus on mental health for seniors.

If you’d like more information on these topics you can visit the David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health’s website by clicking here.

Mental health resources in Southwest Florida

If you are struggling or if you know a loved one who is in trouble, there is help and you are not alone. There is free and immediate support available 24/7. Below is a list of important resources:

In An Emergency

If you or a loved one is in immediate danger call 911. It is important to notify the operator that it is a psychiatric emergency and ask for an officer trained in crisis intervention or trained to assist people experiencing a psychiatric emergency.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline
1-800-273-TALK (8255)

If you or someone you know is in crisis—whether they are considering suicide or not—please call the toll-free Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) to speak with a trained crisis counselor 24/7.

Crisis Text Line – Text NAMI to 741-741

Connect with a trained crisis counselor to receive free, 24/7 crisis support via text message.

National Domestic Violence Hotline – Call 800-799-SAFE (7233)

Trained expert advocates are available 24/7 to provide confidential support to anyone experiencing domestic violence or seeking resources and information. Help is available in Spanish and other languages.

National Sexual Assault Hotline – Call 800-656-HOPE (4673)

Connect with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area that offers access to a range of free services. Crisis chat support is available at Online Hotline. Free help, 24/7.

Below are mental health resources available to Southwest Floridians at the national and local level.

David Lawrence Center (Collier County)

SalusCare (Lee County)

(NAMI) National Alliance on Mental Illness, Collier County

(NAMI) National Alliance on Mental Illness, Lee, Charlotte, Hendry Counties

The National Alliance for Caregiving offers a free handbook
Circle of Care: A Guidebook for Mental Health Caregivers

Collier County Mental Health Court

Lee County Mental Health Court

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Local Support Groups: Anxiety and Depression Association of America

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Mental Health and Addiction Insurance Help)

Local veterans resource: Home Base SWFL

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