HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — Since the pandemic began, mental health-related challenges have spiked dramatically, and many say getting help has not been easy.
In 2020, 85% of employees said finding mental health resources was challenging, 66% said COVID-19 has harmed their mental health and 77% of caregivers said getting assistance for mental issues has been challenging.
So a new free mental health support line is helping connect residents to health and wellness resources, and it just launched in Hillsborough County.
"It's incredibly normal to not feel okay in these circumstances. We're facing unprecedented pressures and just a barrage of information," said Carrie Zeisse, President and CEO of Tampa Bay Thrives.
That group helped develop this free call-in service called 'Let's Talk' to assist anyone looking to talk about their mental well-being with a trained counselor.
"'Let's Talk' is meant to be a first step. And that's why the number is a 833-dial-111. Everyone knows 911 is on the other end of the scale in terms of severity. And this is an entry point where someone can help hold your hand and guide you, as you begin to take on your mental health journey," Zeisse explained.
That trained counselor can help with coping strategies, figuring out the level of care you need, type of therapy and giving you three referrals to local providers.
And Zeisse wants to remind you, you're not alone and your mental health is just as important as your physical health.
"There is no shame in asking for help. And that's the way that you can learn how to thrive truly is by developing skills to see that this is a temporary situation. And there are better things coming," she said.
The free mental health support line is confidential and open 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
Right now, 'Let's Talk' is only available to Hillsborough County residents but they do plan to expand the program to other counties.
If you're interested, click here or call 833-DIAL-111.