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Happy October Tampa Bay! While this month is most known for pumpkins and Halloween candy, it’s also Mental Health and Depression Screening Month, which is a long name for a really important topic, and our focus.

There are a lot of reasons why we don’t talk about mental health screening and a lot of reasons why we don’t talk about mental health in general. A nonexhaustive (but kind of exhausting!) list:

  • Access: Feeling like we don’t have the time or money to prioritize our mental health
  • No role models: Many of us didn’t have parents or caregivers who talked to us about mental health
  • Fear: That we’re alone or the only one feeling this way
  • Shame: That we can’t handle things ourselves or that we need help
  • Confusion: Not knowing where to start looking for resources even if we want them

Add in cultural norms, inaccurate media portrayals of people struggling with their mental health, and our busy, busy lives and it’s no wonder that we often wait to seek resources until things feel really unmanageable. While we are willing to take the time to check in with our physical bodies at a yearly physical exam, we might not feel comfortable doing the same for our mental health. This is despite the fact that more than half of Americans are affected by mental illness at some point in their lives. We are not alone…we are the majority. The stigma around mental health treatment isn’t doing any of us any favors.

There is resourcing and support available to you that fit your life, your budget, and your needs. Mental health screening can be the first step on that journey. Think of it like a check-up for your physical health, it can give you hope, a clear action plan, and the knowledge to do what is best for you, helping you pave a path forward. It can point you towards what is not working in your life (maybe you’re not getting enough sleep, need clearer work boundaries) so that you can be supported in finding solutions that work for you.

It’s really okay to not be okay. It’s okay to need help and it’s okay to not know what it is you need. We know that it can feel impossible. Like a mountain that we can’t see the peak of, so we don’t even start to climb. But reaching the peak isn’t always the point. There are a lot of us out here climbing, and helping each other up when we stumble. Let’s keep climbing together.

Carrie Zeisse
President & CEO

Tampa Bay Thrives

Tampa Bay Thrives

Tampa Bay Thrives is an innovative nonprofit helping people in the Tampa Bay area better address mental health and substance use issues.

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