TAMPA — A pilot program in our state, aimed at helping people with mental health issues, has gotten praises for its success from mental health experts.
Late last month in Tallahassee, the Healthy Transitions Bent Not Broken program was brought up during a session, discussing mental health issues. Governor Rick Scott requested meetings with different state and local leaders in order to come up with solutions to make schools safer. Those meetings were in response to the deadly shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Feb. 14.
The program is not a school based program. The program is under the Success 4 Kids & Families umbrella.
"We are the pilot for the state of Florida. These programs are in other states also and our goal is to get this disseminated to the entire state," John Mayo, the Deputy Executive Director, said.
The Bent Not Broken program is focused on community support.
"We do have a lot of people when they come in they’re happy that they found like a group of other individuals that are currently struggling with things. They’re not alone," Raquel Rosales, Transitional Youth Coordinator, said.
The program serves people in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties.
"I think as a group being bent, but not broken is like, we got this. We can continue to walk through this stage of our lives and actually have success in the future," Omar Joachim, Peer Specialist, said.
The program helps people ages 16 to 25, who are struggling with different levels of mental health issues.
"We actually have the data to point out the fact that if you’re in Bent Not Broken for a period of time, usually 3 to 6 months, that your symptomatology decreases and your feelings of worth and your desire to interact with other folks and continue to get support increases," Mayo said.
Francisco Pierre-Louis is in the program.
"When you’re going through rough times in our life, it’s nice to have people where you can share your issues with," Pierre-Louis said.
Program leaders want you to know there is no problem getting help because there is a community ready to give it to you.
"I think we....we as a society need to stop stigmatizing mental illnesses. It's okay to not be okay," Rosales said.
If you want more information on the program, click here.