TAMPA BAY, Fla- — "Mental health is important. Just as important as your physical health," explained Crystal Clark, a licensed mental health counselor.
Clark says this pandemic has caused unprecedented stress, especially for families living in at-risk neighborhoods.
"This COVID has been damaging to everybody regardless of what neighborhood you've been in. But it makes it that much harder in neighborhoods that already have a stigma to them," Clark explained.
So Clark is leading a free six-week mental health support class called 'Wellness University' through the University Area Community Development Corporation.
"We're in touch with the community on a daily basis. And we heard so many residents were struggling with anxiety and depression and finding coping mechanisms and finding that balance," explained Sarah Combs, the CEO of the University Area CDC.
On March 9, there will be a free mental health session for women, who speak Spanish. On March 11, Wellness University will offer free support sessions specifically for men in the Uptown/University area. Finally starting on April 29, a free veteran's mental health course will begin for six weeks.
"The beauty of Wellness University is you get to meet your neighbors, who are experiencing similar challenges that you are," she said.
Topics in this once a week Wellness University course include:
- Stress Management
- Coping Skills
- Finding Life Balance
- Goal Setting
"Also just some education behind what anxiety looks like, what stress looks like, what depression looks like because a lot of us don't know that," Clark said.
And because this pandemic has forced many to isolate, neglect themselves, and close people off, Clark says we all need to take better care of ourselves.
"A lot of times we're trapped in our minds. Not physically, it's mentally. So we've got to burn those mental prisons and that's what I'm here to help with,"Clark explained.
These free mental wellness sessions meet for six weeks:
Men's Wellness University:
March 11 - April 15
Thursdays: 6 pm- 8 pm
Spanish speaking Women:
March 9- April 15
Tuesday: 6 pm-8 pm veterans Wellness University:
April 29 - June 3
Thursday: 6 pm-8 pm harvest
Harvest Hope Park
13704 North 20th Street
Tampa, FL 33613
For more information, visit the website here: or call Ronnie Oliver at (813) 558-5212 x 310. You can also email him at roliver@uacdc.Org. If you'd like to donate to the University Area CDC, you can do so here: