TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – More than half of Floridians have experienced increased stress levels since the start of the pandemic, and a leading organization is encouraging individuals experiencing these challenges to take an important first step to improve their lives. In recognition of Stress Awareness Month this April, the Florida Association of Managing Entities is launching a “Mind Your Mental Health Florida” social media campaign, encouraging people experiencing mental health or substance use issues to call 2-1-1 for help.
A recent survey of 600 Florida voters showed that 56% of respondents have been more stressed amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, 39% say they’ve experienced new or increased anxiety or another mental health concern. Despite the large number of Floridians who acknowledge experiencing a mental health concern since the start of the pandemic, fewer than half (44%) say they have reached out to a professional for help.
“That first call to 2-1-1 can be the call that changes the rest of your life,” said Natalie K. Kelly, the association’s CEO and President. “If you’re living with mental health or substance use issues, you’re not alone, and help is available.”
Once that first contact is made, a professional will help direct the person to the services and resources available to them.
Florida’s seven local Managing Entities work with a network of over 300 behavioral health care providers who deliver services to over 300,000 of Florida’s most vulnerable residents, including children, expectant mothers, veterans, and the chronically homeless.
Providers meet patients’ diverse needs with “wraparound services” that not only address mental health issues and substance abuse, but also assist with housing, transportation, and employment. Managing Entity community boards administer, manage, and ensure accountability of state and federal funds for behavioral health services, keeping oversight and accountability closest to the people they serve.